By Devika Bedi
Narendra Modi has, on Sunday expressed his “TOP” priority towards farmers. He defines it as Tomato-Onion-Potato. “The farmers who grow vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, onions, and potatoes that are also a top priority for us. Take T from tomato, O from Onion and P from Potato, you get TOP. Farmers are TOP priority for us,” Modi said.
Operating the greens
During a rally in Bengaluru, Karnataka, Prime Minister Modi addressed the people, marking the end of the Bharatiya Janta Party’s (BJP) 90-day Nava Nirman Parivarthan Yatra in Karnataka. This will be part of Operation Greens announced by BJP in the recent union budget. It aims to double the income of farmers by the end of the year 2022. Through this initiative, the government claims to successfully control the erratic and capricious prices of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. “My Government proposes to launch an ‘Operation Greens’ along the lines of ‘Operation Flood’. ‘Operation Greens’ shall promote Farmer Producers Organizations (FPOs), agro-logistics, processing facilities and professional management. I propose to allocate a sum of INR 500 crore for this purpose,” Jaitley said.
The political trail for Modi
“When the Congress was there in the centre, Karnataka was given INR 73,000 crore. When the BJP came to power in the centre, we gave the state 2 lakh crore. It is an increase of 180 percent. However, have you seen that money given to the state?” said Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. BJP went ahead to express tokenism sighting BJP candidate Yeddyurappa’s example. He asked voters to choose the “son of the farmer” as he can empathise the most with them and therefore would be the best choice for their help.
Karnataka election due
Indian elections are the most expensive in the world both in terms of finance and rhetoric. The state of Karnataka is slated to go to polls at the end of the year and the BJP is trying its level best to ensure long-term trust and support from the people, especially by playing the politics of minorities and farmers. Karnataka is the only state where BJP has come to power. It will be the single most important electoral success before 2019 general elections if BJP has a strong persuasive game. Added to this, India is the largest producer of these vegetables but is facing shortages due to overproduction leading to crop glut situation. Farmers are facing problems of selling their crop at a lower rate than their costing price. This has led to protests and civilian clashes throughout the country. Karnataka also ranks top among farmer suicide numbers.
Problem of priority
This could be another opportunistic rhetoric, or it could be a genuine step towards suicide-prone farmers. After the union budget gracefully favoring the agriculture sector, the largest sector has big materialistic hopes from the government. If the ruling party is able to deliver what it promises or is able to make half decent progress, there is a big chance it may win not only hearts but also votes. However, if it proves to be another corruption driven stunt, BJP can also lose its self-driven edifice of “acche din” for now and ever.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
Stay updated with all the insights.
Navigate news, 1 email day.
Subscribe to Qrius