New Delhi: Amidst the changing political situation in the poll-bound state of Punjab, speculation is rife that the Narendra Modi government could bring in a legal backing for Minimum Support Price (MSP), one of the key demands of farmer unions who have been protesting against the farm laws for the past one year. The Centre has refused to roll back the three laws, which BJP poll managers fear will dent the party's poll prospects in Punjab. Offering a legal backing to MSP will help placate the protesting farmers significantly and can also better the BJP's electoral performance in Punjab and UP. There are also murmurs that former chief minister Amarinder Singh, who has been supporting the farmer unions' demand, could join the BJP.
Punjab's farming community had been a strong votebank of the BJP's former ally SAD (Shiromani Akali Dal), but have been miffed with both over the contentious farm laws, forcing SAD to quit the NDA fold.
With the ruling Congress currently in a state of turmoil after Captain Singh's resignation, political observers are of the view that the SAD and the BJP could benefit from it. The former CM's "all options are open" is being interpreted as a warning to his party, which the Captain had accused of humiliating him.
Despite speculation that he may join the BJP, a section within the BJP is of the view that his ardent support for repealing the three farm laws could come in the way. A middle path, many in the BJP feel, would be to give a legal status to MSP, which will also bring down the acrimony between the Centre and farmers unions. Political circles have been rife with rumours of talks between Captain Amrinder Singh and the BJP top brass for the past few months.
Protest by farmer unions against the three laws is a major cause of worry for the BJP poll managers who had been preparing the organisation in Punjab to come out of the shadow of former ally SAD. Both the SAD and BJP had witnessed a crushing defeat in 2017 after ruling the state for a decade, with the BJP managing only three Assembly seats.
The hardening of stand by RSS affiliated BKS (Bharatiya Kisan Sangh) on a law on MSP is also seen by many as an indication that the Modi government might act on it.