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Exclusive: Angry Farmers and Distressed Leaders

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Indian farmers
Indian farmers gather on a footpath during a protest in Chennai where they demanded profitable prices for their crops, June 9, 2017. Benar News

– by Salil Gewali

If we want to see the worst in someone, then sweeten the person up by frequently giving him money. It is like pampering a child who could later become an unruly adult and let down his parents. Well, this is what successive governments have done for farmers. They have pampered them without teaching them robust farming methods.

Firstly, farmers were encouraged to take loans and when they defaulted on payment the loan and interest was waived. Some political parties have used the “loan waiver” as their ladder for climbing to power, as the BJP did in Uttar Pradesh. Has it not sent out the wrong message to other farmers across the country? Will a farmer from UP not teach his Facebook friends from Madhya Pradesh to demand the waiver from their leaders?

[bctt tweet=”Today every farmer is in distress, every village parched by drought and insufficiency.” username=”NewsGramdotcom”]

With each passing day the farmers from various states have pretty well learned the tricks of the trade and so they now make the state governments yield to their demands. In many cases, they have arm-twisted their leaders as has happened recently in Maharashtra. But have we ever given a serious thought on how many lakh crores have so far been written off? Frankly speaking, much could have been achieved if that colossal amount of money were productively utilized instead of offering as unproductive loans?  Big changes could have been brought about in the agricultural sector.

Very advanced irrigation and storage system could have been installed across the country and efficient marketing methodologies could have been employed to sell the produce profitably. And, this could have ushered in an impressive trend in agricultural production and marketing strategies. Then automatically the socio-economic status of the farmers could have been raised and as a result, the farmers would have become self-sufficient and happy and the whole country would have been well nourished.

Unfortunately, today every farmer is in distress, every village parched by drought and insufficiency. And ultimately the governments are now left with no option but to buy the “peace” from the poor farmers by way of waivers as a short-term settlement. But for how long? I guess the government will keep beating their chest when the farmers become restive.

Salil Gewali is a well-known writer and author of ‘Great minds on India’. Twitter: @SGewali

ALSO READ: Salil Gewali’s ‘Exclusive: Fall of the Draconian Roar of NDTV?’ on NewsGram

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Fiery Political Content Arriving on Social Media

The game is set to go dirty, with more and more politicians taking jibes and trading barbs on social media platforms, which will then be reworked upon by creative agencies to flood Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter

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Facebook earlier faced flak for the live streaming of suicides on its platform from different parts of the world, including India. Pixabay

Political parties have gone 24/7 on creating election-special content like issue-based memes, jokes, GIFs and short-format videos to bombard various social media platforms and woo millions of voters.

According to social media experts, while issues like unemployment, farmer distress, Rafale deal and demonetisation would dominate the social media content for the opposition, the Modi-led NDA government is aiming to highlight the Balakot air strike and poverty alleviation.

“Some political parties have appointed social media ‘warriors’ to reach out to the public on digital platforms. They are working round-the-clock as political content aggregators, preparing fiery content for social media trollers,” says social media expert Anoop Mishra.

The bombardment is likely to begin from next week and would only gain momentum as the voting process inches closer.

The rise in popularity of social media platforms has also opened up a relatively new advertising economy driven by “influencer marketing”.

There was a little slump in their activities, say experts, after the Cobrapost investigation last month revealed that several Bollywood celebrities were willing to pass views of political parties as personal opinions for money.

The dust is now settled and the army of social media “influencers” are again out to spread the propaganda of political parties.

The trend to reach out to their voters via social media platforms has caught up with many politicians, the recent ones being Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who are now on Twitter.

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This not even social media players are sure of as, in their own words, there is much more to be done on this front. Pixabay

“Parties like Congress and the BJP have shared a WhatsApp number which people can directly use to connect to the party.

“Every major party and its leaders now have Twitter handle and can often be seen making parodies and memes mocking each other to connect quickly with the youth,” said Mishra.

Congress can now often be seen live-streaming their rallies on Facebook.Regional parties have spruced up their social media presence too.

Till the voting process begins, the social media platforms would turn into a battleground for the political parties.

“The post and ad frequencies would be 10 to 20 times higher than normal days. The parties would try to woo users on emotional sentiments and finally engaging them by trying to change their perception,” Mishra noted.

Also Read- Here’s How to Boost up Businesses in Times of Evolving Tech

There are no two opinions about the fact that political discourse is going to be impacted by social media and the consequences of this can be serious as social media platforms are already being used to create a highly-polarised atmosphere in the country.

The game is set to go dirty, with more and more politicians taking jibes and trading barbs on social media platforms, which will then be reworked upon by creative agencies to flood Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter. (IANS)