As politicians scramble for India’s 815 million votes in the most expensive and closely contested general election in the nation’s history, an unexpected protest is rumbling from what was once one of the country’s most placid voter blocs: its farmers.
The protest is inflamed by rising attention to the shocking suicide rate on India’s hardscrabble farms. Since 1995, more than 290,000 farmers have killed themselves. But because of a revolutionary change in election law, for the first time, angry farmers can reject all the politicians clamoring for the vote and mark their ballots “None of the Above.”
Kishor Tiwari, the grandson of a farm security guard in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra state, says the high suicide rate is the direct product of deep poverty aggravated by the government’s risky economic policies and bureaucratic apathy. Moreover, he thinks such deaths are purposely underreported.
Read the full, original article: How Suicide and Politics Mix In India