‘Farm Crisis’ influences Elections in Rajasthan, MP and Chhattisgarh

Widespread farm distress and anger, which brought thousands of farmers to New Delhi last month, seems to have affected the legislative assembly elections in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to cede vast electoral territory on 11 December 2018 to Congress party owing to sweeping rural fury brought on by an impulsive farm crisis. The Congress won in all the three states controlled by the BJP. Poor farm income pinched rural pockets, even though Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was dedicated in doubling farmers’ incomes by 2022.

Professor Mohanakumar S, financial analyst at the Institute of Development Studies in Rajasthan, where the BJP was defeated says “Rural economic dissatisfaction and rural politics collided.”

Economists are saying that doubling of farm income is not practical and actually annoyed farmers selling their produce at a loss. Ashok Gulati, another top economist has said that in order to double inflation-adjusted incomes of growers by 2022 (with 2015 to 2016 as the base year) the annual farm growth will have to be at least 10.4 percent.

On the contrary, farm growth dropped by 0.2 percent in 2014 to 2015. The next year, it went slightly up at 0.6 percent. In 2016 to 2017, growth did rise to 6.3 percent and in 2017 to 2018 it came down to 3 percent. Hence we can say that the average growth until now is about 3 percent.

The first two years under the Modi-led-BJP government were drought years that actually pulled growth down. Prof. Mohanakumar says “A lot of disappointment among farmers stimulated anti-incumbency all around”.

Moreover, government’s decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes in November 2016, in the middle of Rabi sowing season was a big blow to the farmers as the farming sector runs on cash. “Though there is no definite practical evidence of this as yet,” said chief economist at Crisil, DK Joshi.

On the other hand, Congress President Rahul Gandhi and many other leaders showed their support to the Kisan Mukti March held on 30 November, asking the parliament to hold a special 21-day session to solve the agrarian crisis.

Share your comments

Subscribe to newsletter

Sign up with your email to get updates about the most important stories directly into your inbox

NADI Solar Pumps
MRF Farm Tyres