ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Farmers’ Politics in West Bengal

Left Front and Post-Left Front Period

The author would like to acknowledge the reviewers whose comments have shaped this paper, and also the research participants.

After the end of 34 years of the Left Front rule, West Bengal has seen a renewed emphasis on agriculture. A decade-long ethnographic study conducted during and after the political transition unravels the reasons why such emphasis fails to benefit the small and marginal farmers, at places where farming is still profitable. The local elites, through a particular nature of landwaterdebt network and influence on local governance, continue to affect the political economy of farm-based resources. Therefore, the policy preference for agriculture, without addressing such local and micro issues, would not be fruitful for small and marginal farmers.

West Bengal saw the end of the longest democratically elected communist government in 2011 and the beginning of a decisive second term of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government in 2016. The TMCs rise is popularly linked with land-related movements against the car factory project at Singur and the proposed chemical hub at Nandigram (Zee News 2006; Hindu 2006; Rajagopal 2016).1 With the states failure to invite any large industrial investments since 2011, there is a policy thrust towards the development of farming and related infrastructure. Due to land reforms during the Left Front rule, the rural economic equations turned upside down (Lieten 1996a, 1996b).

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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