Bengluru, Jan 6: Even as parties gear up for upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, appeasement of farmers remains a priority for every party. Uttar Pradesh is going to polls just before the harvest season begins for the agrarian sector in the state.
After taking a massive hit due to falling prices as an effect of demonetisation, farmers are hoping to awaiting benefits and loan waivers from political parties that seek their vote. Their vote matters and each political party is attempting to build a farmer friendly image.
Demonetisation came as a bolt from the blue to farmers in the state. With farmers, especially from western parts of UP suffering due to centre government's monetary decision, all other political parties are hoping to thrash the government in specific and BJP in general to score brownie points.
Meanwhile, the BJP has already begun appeasement through the Prime Minister's New Year address aimed at dolling out benefits to the agrarian sector. The ruling Samajwadi party is a different story altogether since it is yet to stabilize its campaign fighting internal crisis it is dealing with currently.
The Congress led by its vice President Rahul Gandhi had identified the need to win farmers' confidence in the run for the 2017 elections earlier in 2016. Rahul Gandhi's Khat Sabha and Kisan yatra has brought farmers closer to the party's 2017 vision for Uttar Pradesh but the question of how much impact it has left remains since most exit polls show a favourable result to SP and BJP. Loan waiver, lower electricity slabs is Congress' deal to lower burden on farmers.
The BJP senses that demonetisation may not be the ideal poll propaganda to use considering the backlash it received from the farmers of UP. The party, however, is hoping that the Prime Minister's New year address as well as the early budget session will do the trick to appease the agrarian vote bank.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced farmer friendly initiatives on December 31 2016, many fear it was too little, too late. Booth level workers have begun addressing gatherings of farmers at village levels aimed towards confidence building.
The Bahujan Samajwadi party is heavily replying on anti-incumbency factor to help sway voters towards it. While the Mayawati led party is likely to cash in on the anger over demonetisation and its effects on crop sales, it is also highlighting the inefficiencies of Akhilesh YAdav government to help farmers at the time of need.
It is to be seen if the SP breaks out of its internal fight to asep up campaign. With exit polls predicting a tight fight between SP and BJP, the more time SP loses BJP gains.