The Home Minister of the country, Amit Shah, not sparing a thought for farmers camping in the cold at the borders of Delhi for over 20 days now, has instead chosen to eat lunch and get photographed at a farmer’s house in West Bengal.
Shah is in West Bengal on a two-day tour to take stock of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) preparations ahead of next year's Assembly elections. He and his ministerial colleagues are now making rounds of Bengal every four to eight days.
Prior to this, the Home Minister was busy campaigning in Bihar and then in the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. Perhaps, now BJP leaders have no work left in the country except preparing for elections.
With the corona peak almost over, the BJP government has cancelled the Winter Session of Parliament in the name of the pandemic. So, there is a lot of time in hand of Central ministers.
On Saturday, Shah had lunch at a farmer's house in Midnapore. But will he remember to repay the ‘namak ka karz (debt of salt that he owes to farmers)?
This particular farmer may be a supporter or activist of his party, BJP, but if he is genuinely a farmer, then he should also know the pain and suffering of his brethren across the country who have been pushed into a deep abyss of mounting debts.
Looking at the pictures of Amit Shah enjoying food at a farmer's house, one also recalled the pictures of Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi when farmers refused to eat lunch arranged by the government during the negotiations. Instead, they opted to eat food arranged from a langar while sitting on the floor of Vigyan Bhavan.
How one wished Modi, Shah or one of the ministers also joined the farmers and shared the langar with them, sitting on the floor of Vigyan Bhavan, listening to their problems and solving them. There would have been no need for Saturday’s photo-op.
Such pictures of leaders going to dalit or adivasi homes and sharing food have become quite common before Assembly or Lok Sabha elections.
Today’s photo-op also brought to mind the picture of Prime Minister Modi washing the feet of the safai karamcharis (sanitation workers).
Do you remember that before the Lok Sabha elections in February 2019, during the Kumbh Mela, Prime Minister Modi washed the feet of five sweepers in Prayagraj (Allahabad), and how the picture was made viral by the BJP PR machinery?
It is a different matter that after that, neither Modi nor his government did anything for sanitation workers or even look back to see why their feet are still covered in muck.
Well, it is still not too late for the Modi government to put money where its mouth is. All it needs to do is focus on the people who produce food, rather than on the food earners. But, is it interested in doing so?
(Translated from Hindi: https://hindi.newsclick.in/Farmers-protest-Amit-Shah-eats-food-at-farme…)