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Agrarian crisis a deepening challenge for India’s Modi 

Munawar Zaman
Press TV, New Delhi

India's state of Uttar Pradesh  has been the scene of violent protests by farmers over agricultural reforms in recent days. The anger could have adverse impact for the ruling BJP party. The most populous state of Uttar Pradesh is due for elections in a few months.

Many call them the backbone of the country’s economy and apparently they sustain livelihood for millions across the world’s second most populous nation.  It’s been about a year since farmers across the Indian subcontinent have been protesting against the new agriculture reforms which they believe will threaten their livelihood and benefit the big corporations. The laws were recently put on hold by the country’s top court but the farmers unions demand a complete repeal of the laws.

The farmers issue has come under spotlight since deadly violence claimed nine lives in Uttar Pradesh State, a federal minister's son is accused of deliberately running over his SUV over a group of peacefully protesting farmers.  The incident sparked days of outrage across the country, the accused has been arrested after a massive political and public backlash. Experts say the incident could hamper PM Modi’s ambition to retain the most populous state.  

Farmers have been holding up in make shifts on streets across the country against agriculture reforms saying it will worsen their livelihoods. The protest has been one of the biggest challenges for PM Modi since holding office. The ruling party maintains the reforms will modernize the agriculture sector but farmers say it will make them slaves to big companies. 

India is primarily an agrarian nation and two third of its population depends on farming for their livelihood. Over the last decade the agriculture sector has plunged into deep crises due to factors such as drought crop failure, debt burden and other natural disasters. Experts say the new farm laws will add to the miseries of the already dwindling farm sector which they say could pose a serious challenge for PM Modis ruling BJP in the upcoming state elections.


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