A farmer attends a march in New Delhi, India, on Friday, Nov. 30, 2018. (Photographer: Anindito Mukherjee/Bloomberg)

Will Farmers Vote As Farmers In Five State Elections? 

Farm distress is the common thread in the elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Telangana and Mizoram. Farmers have held protest after protest, demanding loan waivers and higher support prices, and even marched to Parliament in New Delhi.

Political parties tried to tap into the anger, making promises in their manifestos. But will that spell trouble for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party in the state polls.

Avik Saha, spokesperson of Swaraj India, thinks so. The central government has let the farmers down and that could prove to be costly this time around, he told BloombergQuint.

The Modi government has gone back on its polls promises and it may be a swing factor at these elections.
Avik Saha, Spokesperson, Swaraj India

Aditi Phadnis, political editor at Business Standard, isn’t that sure. Farmers have different identities and often vote on the basis of caste, gender and needs, she said. Whether they stick to that trend in the five state elections will determine the fate of the ruling governments, according to her.

Will promises of loan waivers and higher prices for crops help farmers? Former Agriculture Secretary Siraj Hussain said agriculture needs structural reform like investments in infrastructure rather than short-term fixes.

Political parties have to realise that there is no easy solution to resolving the farmer crisis. The only way to deliver a fair price to farmers is income support.  
Siraj Hussain, Former Agriculture Secretary

You can watch the entire discussion here: