How Congress wants to cash in politically on farmers unrest
The Congress appears set to capitalise on the ongoing farmers agitation at Delhi's borders against the farm laws.
The situation appears to be volatile in Punjab and Haryana where the BJP is on the backfoot.
On Sunday, for instance, the farmers did not allow Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar to land his helicopter at his home turf in Karnal.
The Congress on Monday denied any role in the incident and squarely blamed Khattar for the chaos. State President of the Congress Kumari Selja said on Monday,"Those who are with farmers should come out of the government".
She said MLAs opposing the farm laws should stop supporting the government.
Sensing an opportunity, the Congress decided to launch a pan-India programme on Jan 15 and asked its state units to protest against farm laws. Congress leaders say the unrest will cost the BJP dear politically, at least in Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Except Punjab, the other three states are ruled by the BJP.
Congress former Minister in Uttarakhand, Nav Prabhat said, "The BJP is ignoring the farmers and benefiting the corporates and this time, after these laws were passed, the farmers will be forced to sell their produce below MSP. The BJP will have to bear the repercussions of the problems it has created for farmers."
In Punjab, the urban body elections scheduled in February could prove to be a litmus test for the BJP, while the Congress hopes to win the elections due to the farmers agitation. For the first time, the BJP was forced to go alone after the Akali Dal severed ties with the party because of farm laws. Congress President of the state Sunil Jhakhar said,"We are ready for polls".
In the just-concluded urban body elections in Himachal Pradesh, the Congress managed to make inroads on the home turf of Chief Minister Jairam Thakur. It may prove to be a major setback for the BJP since urban centres have traditionally backed the saffron party.
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