Impossible for farmers to hold urban masses to ransom: Pawar

Farmers are an unorganised entity. While the govt made concerted efforts to create schism among various farmers’ outfits. Prakash Pawar, professor of political science, Shivaji University analyses why the agitation fizzled how in cities

pune Updated: Jun 10, 2017 14:42 IST
Yogesh Joshi
Yogesh Joshi
Hindustan Times, Pune
Sate wide-bandh,Maharashtra,farmers
Shetkari Sanghatna andolan demanding loan waiver at Central building in Pune, farmers in major parts of Maharashtra have decided to go on a indefinite strike in Pune.(HT PHOTO)

The ongoing farmers strike in Maharashtra may have created ripples in rural parts of Maharashtra, it however failed to create any impact in major cities including Mumbai, Pune and Thane. In an interview with Hindustan Times, Prakash Pawar, professor of political science, Shivaji University analyses why the agitation fizzled how in cities. Excerpts from the interview:

Q What is your assessment about farmers strike?

It is happening for the first time but those involved in it are not just farmers. We have seen political activists also participating in the protests to take mileage.

Q The strike fizzled out within a week. What could be the reasons?

The farmers are an unorganized entity. While the government made concerted efforts to create schism among various farmers’ outfits, the economic impact of the strike had also started taking toll on farmers.

Q Do you think the strike and its outcome once again underlined that urban parts are far more dominant than rural Maharashtra?

Urban centres are economic engines. They are always more powerful than rural parts. It’s practically impossible for farmers to hold urban masses for ransom due to their economic dependency. The crises merely underline it as despite strike, cities continued to get their vegetables.

Q What does it tell us about demographic change?

The rural entity no more exists. Although people live in villages their living style is almost like urban centres. This is mainly because of media and its reach.

Q How will the agitation affect BJP and the government?

The farmers strike will further consolidate BJP’s urban constituency. On the other hand the party has nothing to lose in rural parts as the masses there do not have any other credible option other than BJP.

Q Why do you think the NCP-Congress will not benefit from the strike?

The two parties in opposition have not managed to regain the support they once commanded in rural parts. Many leaders among NCP-Congress are still struggling with corruption charges. So when they took out sangharsh yatra, it received lukewarm response.

Q Do you think farmers strike will meet the same fate as Maratha agitation?

The momentum of Maratha agitation sustained for few months. The farmers can’t sustain for that long. It has already fizzled out in cities with government accepting main demand of agitators.

Q Do you think people involved in Maratha agitations tried to fuel farmers protests?

Some people who were frustrated with Maratha agitation may have been involved at individual level. But I don’t see Maratha outfits have fueled the farmers strike.

Q In the last few months Maharashtra has faced major agitations. Where is it heading?

There is unrest among one section of the society. The reasons for the unrest are economic and social, which are giving birth to the agitations

Q How do you see media’s role in such agitations?

The shorter attention span of electronic media is one reason that agitations do not sustain for longer term.

First Published: Jun 10, 2017 14:21 IST