Jai Kisan Founder Yogendra Yadav has said that the farmers’ protest should not be apolitical and that they would like to make a “difference” in Uttar Pradesh, the BJP-ruled state which is scheduled to go to polls in less than six months.
Speaking to FinancialExpress.com, the Swaraj India party member said that the campaigning they did in West Bengal did make some impact on the state’s poll results, and that they would like to make a bigger difference in Uttar Pradesh.
“I would like to believe that in Bengal we did have an effect. It would be silly on my part to assume that we were the ones who changed the Bengal election results. We probably made one or two degrees of difference, we are happy that we did. And if we make 3 degrees of difference in Uttar Pradesh, that’s even better,” Yadav said.
“Closer to the election, if we have to take a position, we will take one probably similar to what happened in West Bengal. We will make a difference and hopefully, the difference would be important enough for the BJP to realise the cost of being anti-farmer. We just want to convey to them – being anti-farmer is a costly business,” he added.
He said they have already announced ‘Mission UP’ and ‘Mission Uttarakhand’ for the two BJP-ruled states which are going to polls early next year. “It has to do with our assessment that pressuring this government in UP would yield results,” he said.
When asked whether the farmers’ protest was taking a political overtone, Yadav said that issues like farmers’ crisis are “bound to affect politics and they should”. He also admitted that parties tend to gain political mileage through such issues and protests, but claimed that the ongoing protests were neither sponsored nor designed by any political party.
The effect of protest is more visible in western parts of Uttar Pradesh with the Samyukta Kisan Morcha holding the ‘kisan mahapanchayat’ in Muzaffarnagar on September 5, which was attended by thousands of farmers. The region has a considerable percentage of Muslim and Jat voters, and both the communities have been upset with the BJP-led governments, both at the state and Centre.
Focused at capitalising on the farmers’ protest, the Bhim Army’s political wing – Azad Samaj Party – has been inching closer towards the SP-RLD alliance, and the trio may keep the BJP in check in western UP which houses around 120 out of the 403 assembly seats in the state.
Political analysts feel that the SP-RLD-Bhim Army combine could bring Muslims, Jats and Dalits on a single platform and this could upset the BJP’s apple cart in the region.