29 May 2017 | Last updated 02:31 PM

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Agrarian crisis threatens to shake BJP in Maharashtra!
Rohit Chandavarkar | Wednesday, 26 April 2017 AT 09:07 PM IST
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The BJP’s state-level convention is being held in Pimpri-Chinchwad currently where just a couple of months ago the party swept the civic polls brushing aside very powerful and well entrenched Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Overall the civic polls tossed up satisfactory results for the BJP all over the state but just weeks after that a huge wave of resentment among farmers all over the state and especially in Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra is evident. If the State government does not take steps instantly to solve this problem the BJP could see some major political challenge cropping up in the coming months.  

An error in judgement by the State government on assessment about production of food commodities and the usual miscommunication between Centre and State on minimum support price (MSP) to be given to farmers has led to an unprecedented crisis among farmers in Maharashtra.

In Marathwada and Vidarbha regions of the state the pulse producer farmers are out on the roads for days together agitating against the government and demanding that there should be government procurement at MSP on large scale. While the government has not been able to take steps to resolve this crisis, the opposition in full swing is launching one rally after another under the label of ‘Sangharsh Yatra’.

BJP’s Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, while touring Maharashtra and other states last year, advised farmers to plant more tur dal (pulses) in view of rising prices of tur.

However just in the same season the Union government also allowed imports of tur dal on a large scale. Now there is a glut in the pulse market which is hitting Maharashtra farmers hard and the State does not know what to do with over 16 lakh tonnes of pulses that are available. Prices are bound to crash.

While on one side this crisis over pulses is keeping the government on its toes, BJP’s own alliance partner Shiv Sena is on the forefront of demanding a farm loan waiver. Demand for over Rs 30,000 crore of farm loan waiver has put the Fadnavis government on the defensive and loan waiver announced by Uttar Pradesh government has made BJP’s problems worse.

Reports from Nashik district suggest that because of the political pressure being created over farm loan waiver, some farmers have stopped repaying their loan EMIs in the hope that loans will be waived at some point. As a result of this the district banks are facing some crunch of funds and this in turn will hurt farmers who want loans for the next season. So a vicious circle of agrarian financial crisis has already started because of the farm loan waiver political issue.

All said and done, the BJP is now sensing that coming months and years are not going to be rosy as were the first two years in power in Maharashtra and at the Pimpri convention the tone is set to be ready for a statewide campaign. The BJP seems a bit worried about the agrarian crisis that farmers in Maharashtra are facing, but the party will have to go beyond campaign and work towards providing solutions to the farmers or else a major political backlash will be imminent.

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