— Purushottam Sharma
Prime Minister Modi’s government defeated the Opposition’s No Confidence Motion inside Parliament on 20 July and won the motion. The ruling party, the Opposition, and the people of the country and the world were aware in advance of this Parliamentary arithmetic and what the result would be. That is why interest was focused not upon victory or defeat of the government but on the debate inside Parliament and the Government’s answer to substantial issues raised by the Opposition.
But there was another No Confidence Motion outside Parliament on Parliament Street by thousands of farmers from all over the country raising their voice against this government, calling it anti-farmer and anti-people. The farmers told the government, “You will defeat the no confidence motion inside Parliament but this no confidence motion passed by us on the street will throw you out of power in 2019”.
About 200 farmers’ organizations under the banner of the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti has kept the farmers’ movement alive and kicking across the country for the past one year. It is the pressure from this movement that Minimum Support Price and farmers’ loan waivers have come into the country’s political agenda.
Leaders from almost all the parties raised the farmers’ issues in the debate in Parliament. However, nobody spoke about the huge farmers’ non-confidence inside Parliament except the independent MP from Maharashtra and representative of the farmers’ agitation on the street Raju Shetty. The tabling by Raju Shetty of two private Bills prepared by the Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sangharsh Samanvay Samiti (AIKSCC), ‘Loan waivers for farmers’ and ‘Profitable price for crops’ was part of the agenda in Parliament on 20 July. 21 political parties had promised support for these two private Bills, including the Left parties, Congress, Shiv Sena, TMC, RLD, RJD and other parties.
The main issues of the farmers’ No Confidence Motion were: 1) The Modi government has betrayed its election manifesto and promise and has failed to give farmers the Minimum Support Price as per the Swaminathan Commission recommendations. The government tried to cheat the farmers by just this month declaring MSP for only kharif crops. The new MSP declared by the government has not been calculated properly as per the correct input cost and C2 system, and this amounts to blatantly cheating the farmers. 2) The Modi government did not give any relief to farmers during droughts and disasters, giving the excuse of financial constraints; but indirectly the government played a helpful role in giving corporate companies thousands of crores of rupees profit through the Crop Insurance Scheme. 3) The Modi government has flouted the 2013 Land Acquisition Act, PESA Act, and other land-related rules and acts by relating them to States and thus forcibly grabbing land for several big Projects. The livelihood and existence of adivasi farmers have been attacked by forcibly snatching their ‘jal, jangal, jameen’ (water, forest, land). 4) The Modi government has given corporate companies lakhs of crores of rupees as waivers and helped them to acquire huge profits in crores. The gap between corporate companies and farmers has been greatly widened. Schemes like the Bhavantar Scheme in Madhya Pradesh serve only to increase businessmen’s profits. 5) Farmers have no regular income; their labour is given no respect and dignity; suicides due to the burden of loans are on the rise; in spite of countrywide demands, total loan waivers are not being given. The farmers of the country consider the Modi Support Price tantamount to cheating the farmers and have passed this No Confidence motion in view of all these anti-farmer activities of the Modi government.
For the first time the AIKSCC invited all the political parties which had promised support for the farmers’ Bills in Parliament. The representatives of political parties who spoke in support of the farmers’ No Confidence motion included CPIM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI(ML) General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Samajwadi leader Sharad Yadav, RLD leader Trilokchand Tyagi, Shiv Sena leader Aravind Sawant, JD(S) leader Danish Ali, AAP leader Sanjay Singh, and former MP Ali Anwar. Earlier, braving heavy rain, thousands of farmers gathered at Mandi House and marched with black flags and black bands to Parliament Street. Thousands of farmers led by ABKSSS conveners VM Singh, Yogendra Yadav, Prem Singh Gehlawat, Gurunam Singh, Dr Darshanpal, Jagmohan Singh, Atul Kumar Anjan, Ashish Mittal, Medha Patkar, Kavita Karuganti, Dr Sunilam and MP Raju Shetty passed the No Confidence Motion against the Modi government and resolved to throw out this government which has treacherously cheated the farmers.