Swara at Farmers protests at Singhu border

Swara Bhasker @Farmers Protests: Resolution is nigh, says Dr Neelam Mahendra

While self-imposing people like Swara Bhasker should be seen – not helping farmers but only to satiate their daily hunger for publicity when they join and so publically announce that they are joining the protests on Singhu border, we can have a closer look at what is really happening on the side of negotiations – which can and will ultimately resolve the issue.

Yes, I am calling out all those celebrities (or their ghosts) who suddenly appear via tweet when something is on – but do not do anything when suffering farmers were committing suicides.

I agree with a twitter user who questioned and asked what have people like Diljit Dosanjh, Swara Bhasker, Priyanka Chopra, Richa Chadha, Anubhav Sinha, Hansal Mehta, Dharmendra, Ammy Virk, Gippy Grewal done for the Indian farmers in the last 10-20 years…?

Getting back to the core issue of finding resolution, one has to look at what is happening in the Supreme Court of India and what steps are being taken to find a resolution to the problem.

The apex court was moved to gat an order to remove the blockade and ask farmers to move away, questioning their right to protest in a way (it currently is) which is causing damage to the normal businesses and resulting in huge losses.

After a preliminary hearing where the Centre government, State governments of Punjab and Haryana, Delhi and Bhartiya Kisan Union were heard and the Supreme Court took the view of constituting a committee of eminent people and interested parties to sit down, iron out the differences and find a solution.

While on one side the Supreme Court refuse to declare the protests to be illegal and causing damage to the daily lives and refused to order farmers’ removal, it took up the task of attempting to break the deadlock between the farmers and the Central government.

The problem with the protests is that the goal posts are being shifted continuously and the government in such a case cannot be held to ransom!

When the protests started – the two main demands were – MSP (minimum support price) guarantee in writing and the continuation of the APMC Act under which the mandi system operates in Punjab and Haryana.

While the three new laws do not talk of the repeal or APMC Act, farmers feared that the government had that in its pipeline and once the corporatization of the agriculture starts to be implemented, it would happen.

The MSP was also seen in the same light although the MSP does find a reference in Section 5(b) of the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 where the farmer in fixing the agreed price with the corporate can refer to and ask for a premium or bonus over and above the agreed price.

Also read: Farmers’ protests turns into Kangana-Diljit spat

It has to be said the MSP reference is not hard coded in the Act and the MSP is there only as a reference point rather than a guarantee.

But the champions of the new laws will say it is deliberately coded that way to farmers’ benefit because the legislators expect the market prices to be higher than the government fixed MSP.

In my opinion all this is not the domain of our shallow so-called celebrities Swara Bhasker or others – who employ their energy every morning to design a tweet aimed at grabbing a headline in papers rather than farmers’ welfare.

To discuss the issue in detail, I spoke to Dr Neelam Mahendra, a political analyst and a decorated journalist who thinks that after the Supreme Court’s intervention, the resolution is nigh. Dr Mahendra also lamented on India’s lack of effective opposition and in part apportions some blame for the current situation to that. The conversation makes a compulsive viewing.

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