It seems a counter-campaign has been started by the BJP IT cell to delegitimize the ongoing farmer protests. #FarmerswithModi has been trending on Twitter and includes a huge amount of posts in support of the government and farm laws. There are videos of farmers from Punjab and Maharashtra telling people how the law works in favour of the farmers and how they are in full support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A video of popular singer Daler Mehndi appealing to farmers to support the laws and trust Modi is widely shared on the microblogging website.
Many other posts shared on Twitter also include cartoons calling the protesting farmers ‘Khalistani’ and ‘Islamist’.
The Bharatiya Janata Party’s Facebook page has also put up a post with the same hashtag telling the public how the “government is committed to doubling the income of farmers.”
The campaign #FarmerswithModi comes a day prior to the call given by several farmers’ unions for a ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8th, 2020.
Going by the strategic trending of #FarmerswithModi, it appears to be just another tactic by the BJP IT Cell to delegitimize any form of dissent and protest.
The tactic is nothing new and has been used multiple times in the past to curb dissent and mislead the public. The aim has always been to trend hashtags that show support for the government and criticize rivals. It is a systematic mechanism that aims to disseminate pro-BJP propaganda.
The farmers have been camping outside Delhi since 27 November and have intensified their protest to press the government to repeal three “pro-corporate” farm laws enacted by the Centre.
Under these laws, the farmers are allowed to sell produce anywhere in the country and deal directly with big corporations. However, the farmers have found the new laws alarming as they feel they would be left at the mercy of corporators.
Over 500 farmer unions along with transport unions have been part of the protests. Farmers protesting on the outskirts of Delhi have called for a nationwide strike (Bharat Bandh) on Tuesday, December 8th, 2020. The protests as well as their call for ‘Bharat Bandh’ have received enormous support from various political parties and leaders. Many celebrities and sports personalities have also extended their support for the cause.