It is becoming increasingly apparent that the farmers’ unrest against reforms in the agriculture sector is confined primarily to Punjab and some parts of Haryana. The fact is, however deep Punjab’s farmers’ grievances might be, emotions are not running high on this issue in a country of 1.3 billion people, where almost 50% work in the agriculture sector. That passions are riding high among a section of farmers in Punjab is understandable. The new laws have rendered the APMCs toothless, by reducing the importance of the mandis in the farm sector. Punjab has over 25,000 arahtiyas, who control the mandis and the way agricultural produce is traded in the market. It is the rich and well off arahtiyas and farmers who have been impacted the most by the new laws, apart from the Punjab government, which earned a minimum of Rs 3,500 core annually from the mandis. Considering the political interests involved in the farming sector all over the country, including Punjab, it is not a surprise that the agitation is starting to resemble political mobilisation, especially when the Punjab Assembly elections are scheduled to take place in early 2022, a little over a year from now. For both the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal the Assembly elections are a high-stakes battle, so much so that the SAD left the Central government over the issue of agricultural reforms for it knew that it would not be able to withstand the Congress onslaught in case it had continued with the NDA. It is perfectly understandable why both Congress and SAD would make this issue the central plank of their electoral campaign, but perhaps they too need to realise that asking for a rollback of what are largely seen as much needed reforms in the agriculture sector is not fair on the farmers not just in the rest of the country, but also in Punjab. There are enough studies to show that even in Punjab the smaller farmers are exploited to the hilt by the arahtiyas, who also act as moneylenders. In this country, over 85% of farmers are considered small or marginal farmers, owning 2 hectares of land or less. Compared to this, according to Ministry of Agriculture numbers, in Punjab, 18.7% are marginal farmers, 16.7% are small farmers and 64.6% are farmers who have land measuring more than 2 hectares. This relatively low percentage of marginal and small farmers—towards whom the reforms are primarily directed—compared to the rest of the country should explain the need to continue with status quo in Punjab and the resultant turmoil. But when status quo does not benefit 85% of the people employed in a sector, it is time for reform. Sadly, politics has taken over and all parties that were supporting the scrapping of the mandis until recently, are now vocal against their irrelevance in the new system. Worse, Congress ruled states are passing their own farm bills saying that the Central push for reform violates the federal structure of the country, knowing perfectly well that such laws would not get Presidential assent. This is nothing but political grandstanding in the name of federalism. There is also speculation that this agitation will bring back the days of Khalistani separatism in Punjab. Any such talk is irresponsible and must not be allowed to gain currency. Law and order is a state subject and it is incumbent on the Punjab government not to let vested interests take advantage of the situation and instigate trouble. Moreover, marching to the national capital in an attempt to corner the Central government should have been avoided considering the inconveniences such protests can cause to the general public. One of the reasons why the protest at Shaheen Bagh in Delhi earlier this year failed was because it inconvenienced the common people and never got their support. There is a reason why people choose their representatives to Parliament. It is the representative’s job to take up matters concerning their constituents with the Central government. It is difficult to believe that a show of strength by a few thousand farmers—however aggrieved they might feel—will force the government to roll back the farm laws in a country that is estimated to have 600 million farmers. Talks must happen, but not politics. Sadly, it appears that the farmers’ agitation is descending into politics.