'Delhi Chalo 2.0': Farmers revive their protests towards the capital ahead of the general elections...All you should know!

Ahead of the crucial general elections, thousands of farmers in the Indian state of Punjab have revived their protests against the centre-ruling Modi regime and begun their march towards the nation's capital Delhi. As the agitation is seen as a repeat of a similar protest that happened in 2020, it has now been labeled as 'Delhi Chalo 2.0'. The latest uprising from the peasants has come with an accusation that the Modi regime has failed to meet their demands. 

As thousands of farmers from key unions including Samyukt Kisan Morcha (Non-Political) and Kisan Mazdoor Morcha had started their march from Punjab to Delhi, the national capital has been brought under a tight security as the Delhi Police, that falls under the Modi government's Home Ministry, had installed several measures from razor wires, nails, to cement blocks to prevent the farmers from entering the capital. The revival of the protest by the farmers made national headlines and put the Modi regime in a fresh crisis. 

As Narendra Modi is seeking to secure a third term of power by winning the general elections, his approach on the farmers, their protest, and their demands is being closely watched from across the nation and the government is in a plethora of pressure to ensure that the protests won't spread nationally, given the fact that the farmers across the country form a voting bloc that would change the political results in the general elections. 

The farmers begun their protest on Monday, years after withdrawing a widespread agitation against the government after the revocation of three controversial farm bills and with a surety from the Modi regime that it would meet their demands. Nevertheless, the farmers are now accusing that the government has neither met their demands nor shown a sight of working towards it. 

Of the seven demands, one of the paramount demands from the farmers is the enactment of a law assuring a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops, which is seen as crucial when they are enduring a growing market uncertainty for their products. Some of the other demands include the repeal of the Electricity Act 2020, compensation for the farmers killed in Lakhimpur Kheri, and the withdrawal of cases against those involved in the farmers' agitation in 2020.

The farmers said that the government has promised them to meet their demands years ago but has failed to fulfill its promise and that the Modi regime's conduct against them had prompted to revive their protests to Delhi. It has been reported that the government has shown a willingness to withdraw the cases against the farmers in an agreement that was reached midnight between Monday - Tuesday, the farmers had fastened their march with a motive of getting all their demands fulfilled. 

As the farmers approached Delhi through tractors, tensions prevailed on Tuesday in the Punjab-Haryana border. On Monday, the police had fired tear gas at the Shambhu border, only to instigate the agitation. The visuals from the Shambhu border showed that the farmers were using their tractors to forcibly remove barricades to advance to the capital. In some places, with the view of countering tear gas, the farmers were seen wearing gas mask as they proceeded towards Delhi. 

The farmers and the police locked horns at the Shambhu border and the former had also lobbed the barricades from the flyover. They restored to pelt stones on the authorities even as the government has been bracing up for a wave of protests in Delhi in the coming days. The farmers said that they want to peacefully cross Haryana to reach Delhi but faced crackdown by the security forces. 

The protests, which started from Punjab after the farmers' talks with the union ministers failed, have drawn a strong support from the Arvind Kejriwal's AAP, which is ruling Punjab and Delhi. The Punjab police had allowed the farmers to cross Rajpura bypass to enter Haryana and in Delhi, the Kejriwal government has turned down the Modi regime's request to convert the Bhawna stadium into a makeshift prison to lodge the protesting farmers when they enter Delhi. 

Denying the request, the Kejriwal government told the Modi regime that it was incorrect to arrest the protesting farmers. As the fresh wave of protests is hitting the Modi government hard, it appears that the Delhi Chalo 2.0 would shake the capital akin to what it had done four years ago. In 2020, the farmers from across the country, predominantly from north Indian states, had invaded the capital with a demand to repeal the three acts passed by the Modi regime. 

The farmers expressed fear that the acts would promote privatisation in the agriculture and that their autonomy would be destroyed in all the means, from losing MSP to risking their future. Thousands of farmers put tents on a highway and amidst negotiations with the government, they expressed their determination that they won't take back their protests unless these three acts were scrapped. 

The year-long farmers' protests had become one of several major agitations against the Modi regime after the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act. The farmers had also posed what has become a great challenge for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As their protests went on in Delhi, hundreds of farmers had died while the police filed cases against several farmers. When the farmers were protesting nationally, the son of a BJP Minister was accused of killing a group of protesting farmers in Lakhimpur Kheri in Uttar Pradesh by ramming his car over them. 

These events had triggered a national fury against the Modi regime and as the Punjab assembly polls neared, Prime Minister Modi addressed the nation a year later, in 2021, announced that the three farm acts have been repealed. Modi's dramatic announcement also carried a claim that his is a pro-peasant government and the BJP government had also said that it would set up a panel to find ways to ensure support prices for all farm produce. 

The government had also promised to meet the demands of the farmers and years later, the promise is yet to be kept. Interestingly, the farmers' protests in 2020 were strong enough that they successfully pushed Narendra Modi to backtrack from empowering the controversial acts. It was indeed the first time Modi apparently scrapped his own policies when most of his policies were criticized to be biased and religious that would take the country towards the downfall of democracy. 

Four years later, as Modi regime has failed to keep its promises, the farmers are now marching towards Delhi and the timing of their protests is pushing the government to act. While an agreement was reached on Monday to withdraw the cases filed against the farmers, there is no consensus on the other demands including the MSP. More than 200 farmer unions are taking part in the march and speaking to ANI, Sarvan Singh Pandher, the general secretary of the Punjab Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, said, "We will move peacefully and our objective is that the government listens to our demands."