Only 7% of MPs in current Lok Sabha claim to be farmers, majority from BJP

A Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) member at Ghazipur border during their protest against the new farm laws, in New Delhi
Of the 38 members of Parliament who declared farming as their profession in the 17th Lok Sabha, 26 belong to the Bharatiya Janta Party. The data also shows that only 7% of the MPs in the current Lok Sabha have identified farming as their profession, which is much lower than the previous two terms of the Lok Sabha between 2009 and 2019.

This is in sharp contrast to the 15th Lok Sabha between 2009 and 2014 when 27% of the MPs claimed that they were farmers. Interestingly, in the 16th Lok Sabha between 2014 and 2019, 27% of the MPs declared agriculture as their primary occupation, which turned out to be the highest among all the categories. This was followed by political and social work at 24%, while business stood at 20%.

In a recent Rajya Sabha proceeding, following the passage of the contentious Farm Bills 2020, Union Defence minister Rajnath Singh said, "I am also a farmer. I can't believe in my life that the government would do something which will harm the farmers."

Similarly, on the day the Farm Bills 2020 were passed, in a Lok Sabha proceeding, Virendra Singh, an MP from Uttar Pradesh's Ballia constituency, claimed being a farmer he understood that the current government has taken several beneficial steps for farmers like the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.

There is little clarity as to how MPs declare themselves as farmers in the election affidavit. "One can obviously show that he/she is engaged in dual or multiple professions. No semblance of cross verification takes place while the affidavits are submitted to the Election Commission,” highlights Trilochan Sastry, a co-ordinator at the Association for Democratic Reforms. 

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