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Narendra Modi's got a farmers problem

17 109 404

"Modi Sarkar Murdabad! Murdabad! Murdabad!" (Down with the Modi government! Down! Down!)

This was one of the slogans that reverberated in the streets of New Delhi as tens of thousands of farmers marched through the Indian capital in the last two days of November. The protesters were demanding political action in response to the deep crisis in India's countryside. "We are very angry with the Central government," a farmer from Jhabua, one of India's poorest districts, told a reporter. "They have not fulfilled any of the promises they made for farmers."

Organised by the All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, a network of more than 200 farmers' organisations from across India, the two-day Kisan Mukti March (Farmers' Liberation March) raised several demands to alleviate the plight of the peasantry - firstly, that a Joint Session of Parliament should be held to discuss the agrarian crisis; secondly, that minimum support prices should be introduced for agricultural produce; and thirdly, that laws should be passed to secure debt relief for farmers.

The representatives of 21 opposition parties lent their support to the massive demonstration. "Farmers are not begging, they want what is rightfully due to them," declared Arvind Kejriwal, leader of the Aam Admi Party.

The march in New Delhi was not the first organised display of anger and discontent among India's farmers since Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power after a landslide victory in the 2014 elections. Quite the contrary - this was the third time in 2018 that farmers took to the streets of New Delhi to protest against political inaction in the face of crisis.

Looking back a little further, the past year and a half has witnessed several major agrarian protests. During the summer of 2017, protests and riots erupted in several rural areas, and in Mandsaur........

© Al Jazeera