Madhya Pradesh Meeting election: Closed sugar mills, jaggery gross sales on freeway spell bother for Shivraj Chouhan in Gwalior


Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan is within the reckoning for a report fourth time period in workplace. In the course of his hectic campaigning, it can do him good to grab just a few hours of relaxation to look at Saudagar, a 1973 Bollywood film starring Amitabh Bachchan.

Saudagar is a superb story across the problem of creating jaggery. A widow, performed by Nutan, is expert in making jaggery from the juice of palm date. The protagonist (Amitabh Bachchan) marries her just for that ability and dumps her after buying wealth. He then marries a younger lady (Padma Khanna). For the reason that latter doesn’t know tips on how to make jaggery, our protagonist finds few takers for his jaggery and begins shedding his fortune. The complexity of human feelings, rural economic system and society is fantastically portrayed within the film.

Within the Gwalior area of Madhya Pradesh, the Saudagar story appears to be taking part in out once more, albeit in a unique method all throughout this fertile and wealthy sugarcane-growing belt. 1000’s of farmers have arrange their momentary retailers on the freeway connecting to Jhansi and Indore with a very good inventory of jaggery. That is an uncommon sight as farmers are hardly ever seen to be performing like merchants. An off-the-cuff dialog with any of them will reveal the reality of rural misery within the area.

There have been three sugar mills in Dabra, Bhimpura and Sakhni to course of sugarcane manufacturing of the area. Farmers had been fairly accustomed to carrying their produce to those mills and getting compensated as per the state advisory value (SAP) fastened by the Madhya Pradesh authorities in session with the centre. However all these mills are closed. The largest, Dabra Sugar Mill, is accused by farmers of not clearing their dues working into a number of crores. And all these mill-owners are believed to be in cahoots with BJP legislators and ministers.

The creator interacts with a jaggery-seller in Madhya Pradesh. Firstpost/Hari Om

With all these mills having shut retailers, farmers of this extraordinarily fertile agriculture space have been going through an acute monetary disaster. For the previous three years they’ve been sowing sugarcane in a fairly ritual method solely to face a disaster after they reap the crop. Fortunately for them, expert Muslim merchants from western Uttar Pradesh, notably Muzaffarnagar area, got here to their rescue. They arrange a whole bunch of crushers within the area to make jaggery out of sugarcane.

These merchants from Muzaffarnagar have discovered it simple to buy land and uncooked materials to determine a affluent enterprise. “They’re a really expert and durable lot,” mentioned a farmer acknowledging the entrepreneurship of Muslim merchants and their employees. Then, why do the farmers themselves not arrange crushers? An area farmer defined fairly candidly, “You see, farmers on this area are lazy and never as hardworking as these Muslim merchants are.” There appears to be a novel equilibrium between these Muslim merchants and native farmers who’re largely Hindus. They usually appear to be weathering this artifical disaster of the sugar business collectively.

Paradoxically, the Gwalior area which is flanked on both aspect by Chambal ravines and Bundelkhand, was probably the most ‘saffronised’ elements of the state. Though the Gwalior royal household (now represented by Jyotiraditya Scindia) owes its allegiance to the Congress and retains its affect, Gwalior grew to become an area of an intense ideological contest between the BJP and the Congress throughout the Ayodhya motion. On the top of the agitation, hundreds of karsevaks had been pushed to Uttar Pradesh both from Chambal space or from Bundelkhand. However that could be a bitter historical past buried up to now.

As of now, the brand new points have taken the highlight. Jobs are scarce and the closure of sugar mills has prompted deep social unrest amongst farmers whose very sustenance is at stake. Persons are not swayed by three-term chief minister’s tom-tomming of his achievements of getting constructed roads and supplied electrical energy and water to folks. “The least we might anticipate from a authorities is to offer us primary facilities. Chouhan has finished nothing nice,” mentioned many farmers with whom I interacted in Datia and the adjoining villages.

As in Saudagar, by which the protagonist guarantees a contented married life to the widow and makes use of her expertise to accumulate a fortune, the BJP gained over the citizens by promising radical change in governance that will usher in a vibrant rural economic system. The voters of this area appear to be in an identical use-and-dump mode vis-à-vis Chouhan. Fifteen years is a very long time and the moss that the federal government has gathered round it when it comes to selling cronyism and corruption appears to weigh extra on their minds greater than the event of which Chouhan speaks. The brazenness and abrasive conduct of the celebration cadre has not solely alienated a big chunk of the citizens from the BJP management, but in addition made it weary of a political established order.

At first look, the political narrative appears to constructing round a “change”. It’s discovering resonance amongst voters. The lack of the state administration and cockiness of native BJP leaders in defending the sand mafia and unlawful quarry contractors is way mentioned. Except there’s a last-minute change in voter attitudes, which occurs hardly ever, this ballot seems to be going the way in which of The Instances They Are a-Changin’.

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