Election hangover keeps farmers away from their land, agriculture takes back seat in Karnataka

According to one farmer, apart from the election hangover, money has been distributed in good measure by all political parties, and hence workers are taking it easy

Updated - May 12, 2023 05:07 pm IST

Published - May 12, 2023 05:06 pm IST - MYSURU

A group of farmers huddled at K. Hemmanahalli on the Mysuru-Gaddige Road discussing the Karnataka Assembly elections, on May 12, 2023.

A group of farmers huddled at K. Hemmanahalli on the Mysuru-Gaddige Road discussing the Karnataka Assembly elections, on May 12, 2023. | Photo Credit: SRIRAM MA

The elections are over, the results will be out on Saturday May 13, and it is business as usual in urban areas. But the hangover from the prolonged campaigning and election exercise continues to impact farmers, and the bulk of the rural populace where the turnout was also higher than in urban regions.

This is evident in the small and large group of farmers sticking together underneath a tree or in the verandah, and discussing the pros and cons of the victory of the BJP or the Congress, or the possibility of a fractured mandate, and its impact on the farming community.

As a result, farming activity has been considerably affected. Most workers have stayed away from agricultural work, as the suspense over the results has kept them on tenterhooks.

Moderate to heavy rains that lashed parts of Mysuru, Mandya and Chamarajanagar districts in the last few days should ideally have triggered agricultural activity in the region, with farmers taking to the fields.

But not so this year, despite south interior Karnataka receiving 70 mm of rainfall against a normal of 25 mm for the period from May 1st to 10th. The departure from normal is 176% and was ideal for farmers to prepare the fields for tilling before sowing activity could commence.

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‘’Not only are the farmers busy discussing the elections, but there is enough informal betting going on in most villages. This election hangover will prevail till the results are out on Saturday May 13, and will subside by Sunday May 14. Agricultural and farm work will gain traction only from Monday May 15,” said Kurubur Shanthakumar, president, Sugarcane Cultivators’ Association.

About 15 km from Mysuru, a group of farmers are huddled by a roadside bus stop at K. Hemmanahalli, on the road to Gaddige, animatedly discussing the fortunes of the candidates. When interrupted, they break into a friendly smile and say people are deeply involved in politics, and a majority have taken a break from work.

‘’But this craving to debate politics will dissipate by Sunday afternoon...,” according Jayakumar, a farmer from K. Hemmanahalli. But before he could complete the sentence, the group again drifts back into politics and debate how a victory for Congress is more beneficial to them.

Further down the road at Beerihundi, a few km away from the main road, another group of farmers was discussing the fracas between the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular).

‘’Any vote for the Congress is due to the Siddaramaiah factor, and not because of the candidate,” explained Mahadeva who owns a few acres of land and cultivates ragi (millet) in rain-fed conditions. ‘’But the Congress candidate went missing for two days, and there is an internal adjustment to ensure victory for the JD(S),” butted in Shivanna of Beerihundi.

Atahalli Devaraj, secretary of sugarcane farmers’ association, said apart from the election hangover, money has also been distributed in good measure by all political parties, and hence the workers are taking it easy. ‘’But the economic reality will bite from Monday, forcing people to head back to work,” he added.

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