“BJP’s election manifesto is a bundle of lies,” said Sanyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) leaders on February 9, 2022 during press conferences in Moradabad and Bareilly. Members appealed to citizens to “punish the anti-farmer” party.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its manifesto ‘Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra’ as early as January 2022. In it, the party claimed that 86 lakh state farmers enjoyed a loan waiver of ₹36,000 cr and 2.5 crore farmers got an annual fiscal assistance of ₹6,000 under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi – making UP the number one performer in this field.
However, SKM leaders Hannan Mollah, Yogendra Yadav, Jagjit Singh Dallewal, Rakesh Tikait, Shivkumar Sharma (Kakka) and Dr Sunilam attending the farmer meetings criticised the BJP for misleading the people. “The promises made by the BJP in the election manifesto to farmers were also made during the 2017 elections but they were not implemented. Farmers neither got the MSP, nor did their income double,” said Mollah.
In the latest manifesto, the BJP said that it will ensure that sugarcane farmers are paid their dues within 14 days. For late payment, it promised to pay the farmers with an interest by charging sugar mills accordingly. To this, the SKM pointed out that the party made the exact same promise in its 2017 manifesto. Yet, sugarcane farmers still await the balance of ₹ 20 cr for 2017-18 and as much as ₹ 3,752 cr for 2020-21.
“Despite the Allahabad High Court’s March 2017 order, farmers have not been paid the interest of ₹ 8,700 cr due to delay in payment in the last ten years,” said SKM.
In the Sankalp Patra, the BJP has made varying promises for procurement of paddy, wheat, potatoes, tomatoes, onions among other crops at Minimum Support Price (MSP). Again, farmers said that this is a promise picked out from the 2017 manifesto that the party forgot when it came into power. In fact, the SKM claimed that during the last five years, less than a third of the paddy production was procured by the government. In the case of wheat, the government procured less than one bag of wheat out of every six bags produced.
For the 2022 elections, the ruling regime promised to start the Mukhya Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana with a cost of ₹5,000 cr, providing grants for the construction of borewells, tubewells, ponds and tanks for all small and marginal farmers.
This same Yojana was to be implemented five years ago with a corpus of ₹ 20,000 cr. It is yet to be established. In the same way, 10 lakh UP farmers were promised free pump sets under the UDAY scheme but so far only 6,068 energy efficient pumps have been installed. Even though these promises from previous elections are yet to be completed, the BJP reiterated the provision of solar pumps under the Pradhan Mantri Kusum Yojana. The promise of six food processing parks was also reused in a similar manner. The provision of free electricity supply for irrigation also came from the 2017 manifesto.
“In the last five years, there was not enough electricity. The electricity rates of Uttar Pradesh are the highest in India,” said the SKM. Elaborating, it said the Yogi-government has increased the rate of rural metered electricity from ₹ 1 per unit to ₹ 2 per unit for tubewells since 2017. There was also an unexpected increase in the fixed charge from ₹ 30 to ₹ 70. Additionally, for unmetered connections increased from ₹ 100 to ₹ 170.
The SKM also asked farmers to recall the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre wherein four farmers and one local journalist were allegedly mowed down and killed by Union Minister Ajajy Mishra’s son Ashish. It also talked about how the BJP-led government backtracked from their promises made to Delhi-border farmers on December 9, 2021. To condemn this, India’s farmers even observed VIshwasghat Diwas on January 31.
Following that, as many as 57 UP farmer organizations resolved to start Mission UP. Leaders will visit multiple villages, distributing pamphlets and holding street meetings, to ask voters not to invest their confidence in the “anti-farmer” BJP.
“Those farmers who had to sell their crops at half the price of MSP and saved their crops from stray animals by staying awake all night will definitely vote against the BJP to teach it a lesson,” said the SKM.