NEW DELHI: While the NDA government grapples with the growing farmers’ protests, BJP leaders rue the collapse of party base in Punjab and a lack of credible leadership from the agrarian community, which could have engaged the agitating farmers in dialogues.
Many within the BJP see the protest at the gate of Delhi as a major embrassment and communication failure. Incidentally, the NDA government has been facing sporadic farmer protests since 2014, which mostly had been at the local level in Maharashtra, MP, Rajasthan, Haryana and Punjab, while some farmers from Tamil Nadu had held an agitation at Jantar Mantar for days in 2017.
“This protest as of now is largely led by farmers from Punjab. The BJP’s leadership vacuum in Punjab is clearly exposed. The absence of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) in the NDA is also adding to the stress of the government,” said a senior BJP functionary.
While the last farmers’ protest in Haryana had seen the BJP sending troubleshooters from western UP, the saffron outfit is seen not banking on the party MPs who hail from the agrarian background to hold back-channel discussions with the agitating farmers.
“The leadership has not asked such leaders so far, and, therefore, they aren’t seen in actions on this occasion,” said a senior BJP leader from Haryana, who had been on the forefront to diffuse farmers’ protests in 2018.
While the Railway Ministry and the Congress-led Punjab government had been at the loggerheads over the disruptions of the rail services in the state for a long time, a section of BJP leaders said that the crucial time to communicate the three legislations to the farmers in the state was lost.