NEW DELHI, OCT 14: FINALLY, the government has woken up to the plight of the farmers. The Narendra Modi government has now come up with an innovative plan to help India's farmers who are facing an existential crisis.
But will the farmers, who have been making news not for their great agricultural production but the rate of suicide due to debt, take kindly to the latest overture from the saffron party?
BJP’s training programme will focus on "spiritual and religious aspects of agriculture" and will connect the history of farming with the glorious Indian history where the Hindu religion has played a great role in the life of farmers.
BJP leaders and activists will fan out across India as part of an outreach programme for farmers. At least, 50,000 BJP workers will educate farmers about the spiritual and religious benefits of pursuing agriculture. The party hopes it will convince the farmers to not opt out of agriculture and also scrap any plans to commit suicide.
Also, the BJP will use these 50,000 party activists to educate farmers about the achievements of the government.
The decision was taken during the National Coordination Meeting of Kisan Morcha as a part of the second phase of "Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Prashikshan Maha Abhiyan,” in New Delhi on October 12. Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh, BJP farmer wing leaders, some party MPs, and BJP general secretary P Muralidhar Rao who looks after the party's Mission South, were key participants.
Divided into five modules, the training programme will focus on "spiritual and religious aspects of agriculture" and will connect the history of farming with the glorious Indian history where the Hindu religion has played a great role in the life of farmers. It will also seek suggestions for farmers' welfare.
A BJP MP from Haryana who attended the meeting told Punjab Today that many MPs underlined the massive damage to the party's standing because of the failure to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission on remunerative produce prices and virtual backtracking from the promise of doubling farmers' income 2022.
As farmer leaders pointed out the short window of 20 months left for the Modi government to win back farmers' trust, the party leadership came up with the idea of connecting agriculture to religion. The programme will be launched immediately after Diwali.
Dubbed as the world's largest training programme for farmers, the exercise led by the BJP Kisaan Morcha will cover 1,100 blocks. As of now, the BJP plans to run the programme for three years. Political pundits said the idea is to peak before 2019 polls.
As farmer leaders pointed out the short window of 20 months left for the Modi government to win back farmers' trust, the party leadership came up with the idea of connecting agriculture to religion. There was little attempt to hide the fact that the goal is 2019.
"There is excellent work being done by the Modi government but many times the farmers are not able to avail the benefits of the policies and schemes and therefore it’s also the duty of the field level workers to ensure that these benefits reach the farming families,” Radha Mohan Singh said. He did not explain why no officials were being taken to task if benefits were not reaching the farmers.
"Farmers are a demographic that is not amenable to appeals to Hindutva since questions of survival, debts, loans, agri input prices, grain markets, commission agents trump partisan agendas. However, this will be a last ditch effort by the BJP to connect farmers to the meta-narrative of religion being pursued by the Modi government," said a senior BJP leader currently not in the good books of top leadership.
Sources said the BJP top brass will couch the entire exercise as a major plan to update the farmers about the Modi government's policies and schemes, and may also blame local leaders/factors/opposition for being hurdles in benefits percolating to the ground.
Interestingly, the BJP and RSS leadership plans to keep the entire venture a strictly cadre-based exercise and officials will not be made part of it.
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