Farmers Protest: Chaduni

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Day 232

Toll 538+


Last night, the Samyukt Kisan Morcha suspended Haryana farmer leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni for one week. In itself, one week is no big deal but the step is to send out SKM’s message regarding the upcoming elections in Panjab in February 2022.

For the last few days, Chaduni has been raising a matter that concerns us all – if we are unhappy with the government, then instead of only protesting, why do we not not form our government? Why should the protesters not form their own political party and fight elections, win and make people-friendly laws? Chaduni terms this argument as ‘Mission Panjab’. He says, Bengal results show us that BJP did not relent on Farm Laws. What guarantee do we have that if, a big if, BJP loses UP elections, it would relent?

Various leaders of SKM are on various points over this argument. If I understand well, and given my experience of Panjab elections 2017, unions like BKU Ekta Ugrahan oppose contesting elections. The reason they give is that they stand in opposition to the entire neo-liberal structure and not merely one government or another, one policy or another.

There is logic to that argument that I find appealing. After all, politics is not a silo. Politicians come from the system. India being a socialist nation, the government cannot withdraw from education, health, agriculture, allied fields. Yet, we know how for the last three decades that is exactly what every party in power does – Congress, BJP, Akalis, JD(S), SP and so on. That is because the neo-liberal framework is designed for government to withdraw and corporate players to take over. Not only in India, even world-wide where countries have adopted neo-liberalism.

In Panjab the situation is especially dire because the executive – bureaucrats and police – are active abettors in this privatisation. There is anti-incumbency but it is because the system is so rotten that it fails. The sand and gravel, liquour and transport mafias thrive. That is why current Congress rule, after a decade of Akali-BJP mal-governance, has not changed the ground reality. Like every state, like the nation, the reason is whatever be the good intentions of a politician, the tweezer grip of corporate houses and the need to deal with unrelenting attack of critics, forces it compromise its policies, go against the people, and benefit money bags. That is the neo-liberal structure.

The nation tried the experiment of a totally fresh, transparency oriented, high on ideals party and government with AAP. Where has that taken us? In fact, given AAP’s example from IAC days, many BJP leaders are now accusing the protests, saying: they are only for politics and not for Farm Laws.

The differences between Chaduni and SKM are not a matter confined to the farmers protest. No one denies Chaduni’s importance to these protest. Remember, the Haryana police barricades on November 26 would not have fallen, farmers would not have reached Delhi’s borders, if it were not for the youth and Chaduni’s union.

The differences in SKM on how to deal with elections are a question that all of us need to ask ourselves as we try to now tackle a government which has completely upturned the norms of democracy and exchanged the country’s socialist character for crony capitalism in the most brazen ways. We also need to ask ourselves: what if there were no elections in Panjab and UP? If the elections were two or three years away like in Haryana. What would have been the farmers take on elections?

The debate is: should we fight the system from within or change the system altogether? We do not have answers yet … What would you do?


This entry was posted on Thursday, July 15th, 2021 at 12:22 pm and is filed under Other, Punjab. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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