MP Farmers’ Death Turns into a National Issue

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Madhya Pradesh fire, spread to other parts of the country, is a bigger worry for the BJP and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Voices of protest can be heard even in a state like Odisha where peasant leaders have chalked out demonstration plans. Farmers are also demanding loan waiver which could bring the exchequer under stress. The situation comes as a godsend for the Congress which was reeling under criticism and was finding itself short of issues.

Death of farmers in Madhya Pradesh has triggered a political storm. While Congress seems to be fishing in the troubled waters of Mandsaur, the BJP is in the firefighting mode. Currently all the big Congress leaders are MP-bound trying to console the families of farmers who lost their lives while Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan is trying to absolve himself through purgatory fasts.

Suddenly the MP fire has also spread to other parts of the country, which is a bigger worry for the BJP and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Voices of protest can be heard even in a state like Odisha where farmer leaders have chalked out demonstration plans. Farmers are also demanding loan waiver which could bring the exchequer under stress.

The situation comes as a godsend for the Congress which was reeling under criticism and was finding itself short of issues. When issues came to it the party’s handling of them was so inept that it failed to take advantage of them. But now it has got a readymade situation and it is upto its leaders to take advantage of it. Party vice-president, Rahul Gandhi has done his bit and Jyotiraditya Scindia was arrested in his home state as the state government felt his presence could be incendiary.

The knee-jerk reaction of the BJP was to go sleep mode, so shocked it was by the development in a state that it rules. As things threatened to get out of control, Chauhan went on a fast apparently repenting the effects of the firing but actually to assuage the feelings of the farmers.

The issue, if sources are to be believed, has been taken seriously by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi who is keenly aware of the fact that the Congress would try to take advantage of it. He is believed to have  instructed his confidants to ensure that they take steps to ensure that the situation in the state does not deteriorate further.

The repercussions of the incident have been felt in different parts of the country including Odisha where a few days ago union agriculture minister, Radha Mohan Singh’s carcade was allegedly pelted with eggs by Congress workers in Bhubaneswar. Congress workers also showed him black flag.

Things did not stop at that. A few days later Biju Janata Dal activists hurled eggs at the vehicle of union tribal affairs minister, Jual Oram who condemned the attack and said that he would take it up with home minister, Rajnath Singh.

What is to be seen is whether the issue will flare up further or the BJP will be able to douse the Madhya Pradesh fire. The incident has such dimensions that it has the potential to impact the national political scenario. The state being ruled by the BJP  has given Congress the right kind of opportunity and the party seems keen to capitalize on it. “If the Congress really succeeds in taking advantage of the situation then the party will gain at the national level. The big question is can it actually reap advantage,” said a Congress leader.

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