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UP Farmers  Ask For Relief in Electricity and Diesel Prices

Jayant Chaudhary doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind farmers how much they are paying for electricity and diesel, but the BJP is confident that the prospect of an alliance with SP will keep the farmers away from the RLD.​​​​​​​

Ayushi Raina
Sugarcane Farmer
Sugarcane Farmer

At all roads and crossroads in Muzafarnagar, RLD's Jayant Chaudhary's hoardings dot the  landscape. The farm laws may be on their way out, but high energy and fuel rates remain key difficulties for farmers here, who say the price increases have eaten into the modest increase in sugarcane procurement price announced by the state government this year. 

Chaudhary has not missed a chance to remind the farmers of this, but in the end, the identity issue appears to be the most compelling in western Uttar Pradesh. 

"The Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) brings up our concerns. It is a communal gathering. But if they ally up with the Samajwadi Party (SP), as we hear, we're not sure..." said a group of Jat farmers led by Avtar Singh in Karaunda village on Sunday as they loaded their sugarcane crop onto tractors. 

Many people still regard the SP as a party that engages in appeasement politics in favor of Muslims  which is why the Jats defected to the BJP during the 2013 Muzafarnagar riots. Through Bhaichara Sammelans (unity conventions) held across west UP, Chaudhary has attempted to bridge the trust gap between Jats and Muslims, but the BJP, too, seizes every chance to reinforce the identity crisis. 

"The farmers of west Uttar Pradesh would never support the rioters. They are aware of the Samajwadi Party's previous actions.

They also know what historic initiatives the Modi-Yogi government have taken for their welfare," BJP state secretary Chandra Mohan said, emphasizing on west UP.  

Another senior BJP leader in Delhi stated that the RLD's impact is restricted to five to six seats in three west UP districts where a section of the Jat community backs them. "The reality is that, even in recent elections, the Jats have never voted completely for the BJP in west UP. Farmers from the Kashyap, Saini, Brahmin, and Prajapati communities are staunch supporters of the BJP, according to this leader. Such farmers continue to support the BJP in the sake of law and order.” 

PM Narendra Modi and the BJP, whom farmers in west UP have totally supported in elections since 2014, only two days ago repealed three farm laws that were also creating trouble for farmers here. "It was an annoyance. The contract farming law would have allowed private sugarcane mill owners more leeway, as they are now required to acquire our produce totally at a state-set price. So we are relieved that they (farm laws) are no longer in effect.” 

But what farmers in western Uttar Pradesh really wanted was a guaranteed Minimum Support Price (MSP). Farmers in Uttar Pradesh are struggling to acquire enough rice and wheat. Will the BJP give it?" Ask Suresh Singh and Veerpal Singh, who were smoking hookah in Titavi on Saturday, where Chaudhary held a rally. 

Multiple farmers in west UP claims that their tube-well bills were less than Rs.500 per month under the previous regime, but have now escalated to more than Rs.2000 per month. Some say that the electrical supply has improved and so has law and order, but the high bills are the most concerning. 

"They are installing bigger meters in your tube-wells. "We will cancel all existing bills and cut future bills in half," Chaudhary declares during rallies. 

Farmers are now receiving sugarcane dues on time, which the BJP sees it as a positive in comparison to past regimes, but Chaudhary is now impressing farmers that the BJP government may soon eliminate the clause requiring dues to be cleared within 14 days or farmers will incur a late payment penalty. At his rallies, Chaudhary states, "They have sent the proposal to NITI Aayog." 

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