Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Farmers and their woes dominate in Baghpat constituency
Dr Kirpal Singh of village Angadpur made all attempts to sell his two cows but failed because there were no buyers. The majority of animal traders are Muslims, who have stopped dealing in sale and purchase of cows ever since the Yogi government came to power. This resulted in decline in demand of cows because of which price of cattle plummeted, resulting in loss to farmers.
Adding to the farmers’ woes, stray cattle are damaging their crops but they can’t do anything.
The farmers’ woes don’t stop here. Sugarcane is a major crop in Baghpat and adjoining constituencies and the backbone of rural economy in the area. Sugar mills of the area owe sugarcane farmers crores of rupees that has forced them to protest and demanded immediate payment of their dues.
Singh says that politics of Baghpat revolves around issues related to agriculture, or say sugarcane, and almost every farmer is facing multiple problems across the constituency, which has five assembly constituencies viz Baghpat, Baraut, Chaprauli, Modinagar and Sivalkhas.
Prof Baljeet Singh Arya of Baraut says: “Sugarcane payment dues and stray bovines are two major issues here that are directly affecting the lives of people.”
Prof Arya runs Gurukul International School in village Jiwana to provide education to village children. He claims that the school has fee dues of Rs 50 lakh because farmers are unable to pay fees of their children.
Dr Sudha Sharma, owner of Vedanti International School in Aminagar Sarai , also admits that almost every school in rural areas is facing ‘fee dues’ problem because farmers’ income is dependent on sugarcane payment.
Criticizing the state and union governments, RLD leader Jayant Chaudhary says sugar mills have to pay dues of farmers in thousands of crores, which has been adversely affecting their day-to-day life.
He says, “My aim is to bring issues of farmers in the mainstream politics and to bring smiles back on their faces by resolving their genuine problems.”
Krishan Pal of village Daula says no political party is raising issues related to ‘Jal, Jungle and Jameen’ but is trying to polarize voters in the name of caste and emotional issues. He says “stray bovines are indeed a major issue in the area.”
He pointed that the region’s rivers like Hindon, Krishana and Kali are gasping for breath but no politician or party has time to address this grave issue.
Pal says the election is tough for both Jayant Chaudhary and BJP’s Jat face Satyapal Singh. But, he believes that being the alliance candidate Jayant has an edge over his rival.
Baghpat had been the citadel of late Chaudhary Charan Singh and after him his son RLD chief Chaudhary Ajit Singh won from this seat six times. However, he was defeated by BJP’s Sompal Shastri in 1998 and thereafter by Satyapal Singh in 2014, under Modi wave. It was his worst defeat which pushed him to 3rd position wherein he secured lesser votes than SP candidate Gulam Mohammad.
Mohd Hameed of Bagpat says that the 2013 riots were responsible for defeat of Ajit Singh.
Charan Singh had formed an association of Jats, Muslims and backwards. It was broken by the riots and annoyed Muslims didn’t vote for RLD. AJit Singh turned 80 last year and he declared to dedicate the whole year for mending the ruptured Muslim-Jat unity through direct dialogues. He and his son Jayant organized many ‘padyatras’ and ‘jansamvads’ across different sections of people, which helped in healing scars of both communities. And revival of the Muslims-Jat togetherness gave a blow to BJP in the Kairana by-poll in 2018.
Hameed claims the Kairana model is on display in Baghpat and adjoining Muzaffarnagar constituency where Ajit Singh is taking on BJP’s controversial Jat face Sanjeev Baliyan.
BAGHPAT AT A GLANCE
Baghpat has 3.80 lakh Jat voters, 4 lakh Muslims, 1.75 lakh Dalit, 30,000 Yadavs and other voters and arithmetic of votes and anger of farmers seem to be tilting the outcome in favour of Jayant Choudhary. But, BJP candidate Satyapal Singh doesn’t agree. He is contesting the election on the name of Narendra Modi and his vision of making a ‘New India’. He claims of doing a lot of development work for the constituency in past five years and seems confident that people will support him for more development works and their better future.