The Narendra Modi government does not have as much problem with the agitating farmers as it does with the ilk of Yogendra Yadav, Medha Patkar and politicians who opportunistically don a new mantle suiting the latest street demonstrations, or so it seems. Prime Minister Modi today continued his attack on “andolanjivis“, making a distinction between them and genuine “andolankaris”.
After his detractors seized the opportunity to misinterpret the prime minister’s speech by saying he had referred to all demonstrators, Modi chose today’s occasion to explain the difference between genuine and inauthentic protesters.
After saying in the Rajya Sabha, “Kisan andolan is sacrosanct, but when andolanjivis hijack it and show pictures of those jailed for terrorism, what purpose does it serve?” the prime minister used the term andolanjivis again in the Lok Sabha today.
On Monday, the prime minister had said, “We are familiar with the words shramjivi (labourers) and buddhijivi (intellectuals)? But a new ‘breed’ of agitators called “andolanjivis” has emerged in the country, who cannot live without an agitation and the nation should guard against them.”
Modi’s remarks evoked strong reactions from the opposition parties and the farmer unions, who accused him of insulting the movement. In the parliament, Samajwadi Party’s head Akhilesh Yadav today likened the farmers with “Mahatma Gandhi” and called the BJP “chandajivi“, an organisation that lives off donations.
Reacting to Modi’s address, the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) said, “We condemn the charge made by the prime minister and we would like to remind him that it was andolanjivis who helped India break free from colonial rulers and so we are proud of being andolanjivis.”
“It is the BJP and its forefathers who have never participated in an agitation against the British. They were always afraid of people’s movements and that is why they are afraid of people’s movements even now,” the SKM said in a statement.
Replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks in the lower house, PM Modi today staunchly defended the three contentious farms laws.
He attacked the opposition for “misleading” farmers, saying those who are disrupting the House are doing so as per a “well-planned strategy” as they are unable to digest that people can see the truth.
“Through their games, the trust of the people can never be won,” he said, amid protests by the opposition members.