Drivers’ protest: will it sustain?

Konsultramesh
3 min readJan 2, 2024

Will the truck drivers’ protest against the amended criminal law imposing hefty penalties for hit-and-run cases gain momentum among their tribe and transform into another Punjab farmers’ agitation of 2023 and compel the government in the run-up to the General Elections 2024 to blink first and withdraw or rescind the ‘draconian law?”

The answer is NO. NO. NO.

Why?

1. The drivers’ community is scattered.

2. They don’t have an umbrella organization to galvanize. (The transport fraternity WON’T permit such a strong driver body, despite all the NOISES they make)

3. Drivers have no money backing and, therefore, no sustenance to sustain a long-drawn agitation.

4. Forget about the dalals, transporters without a fleet, and the aggregators. They have NO SKIN IN THE GAME. No EMI to pay. No driver compensation to dish out. The FLEET OWNERS won’t want the truck drivers’ andolan to succeed. Why? Simple. Whether their fleet runs or not, lenders will breathe down their necks.

YES, they support the cause. A very short-term approach. A few days, at the maximum. Not even a medium term of, say, four weeks. They won’t. So, the less said about the long term, the better.

5. What about the transport lobby groups? YES, they will make NOISES: they will hold rallies anywhere and everywhere. Write to the government. Will give SOUNDBITES on TV and opinions to news-hungry media. The question is: how long? The answer: NOT VERY LONG.

6. What about the government? Irrespective of the party ruling the government, its attitude will be gauging the nation’s mood and the severity of the protest. It will be a WAIT AND WATCH process.

How long will truck drivers stay away from steering? Despite the fear psychosis gripping, drivers’ reactions will be short-lived.

Honestly, there is NO public support for truck drivers thus far.

Self-preservation would compel fleet owners to pray for an early resolution, which is unlikely. In such a scenario, they would try to break ranks among the driver fraternity to ensure their business remains unaffected beyond a short window. They cannot afford it.

If drivers cannot get the criminal law amendments kept in abeyance or withdrawn, they must blame themselves for lacking unity.

By the way, the amendment is yet to get the Rajya Sabha nod and then the Presidential assent. The passage of the bill in Rajya Sabha is a given due to the ruling party’s strength in the Upper House.

Yet, the President can return the bill to Parliament for reconsideration if the Occupant of the Rashtrapati Bhavan desires so. It is a big IF. However, the government can again approve the bill and send it to the President, leaving Smt Draupadi Murmuru little option but to affix her signature.

--

--

Konsultramesh

An avid watcher & practitioner in the world of communication