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Punjab Farm Protest Or A Proxy Battle To Diminish PM Modi?

Who is behind the farmers’ agitation near Delhi? The two Punjab-Haryana border points – Khanauri and Shambhu – have been the epicentre of the clashes as police personnel fired tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the farmers trying to march to Delhi. Farmers have rejected a government offer on MSP for five crops and crop diversifications to save the water table. The basic aim of the protesting farmers is not to secure a MSP for all the 23 crops that they produce– they want a law guaranteeing MSP. Such a law farmers argue will ensure that market prices will not go below the MSP. It is also possible that it could force the government to buy farm produce that is not picked up by the market. The thrust of the protests organised by AAP and the Congress is to take the sheen out of PM Modi’s popularity and continue the protest till the April-May Lok Sabha elections. The game is to pull Modi down politically. In this game, while AAP in Punjab is trying to project itself as “friend of the farmers”, with its chief minister Bhagwant Mann playing mediator in the Centre-farmer talks, the Congress, which rejected Swaminathan Committee report in 2006, has also lent support to the farmers’ demands. Punjab urgently needs sustainable agricultural practices. But AAP and Congress are intent on backing the agitation to downsize Modi.