Opposition parties have lent their support to “Bharat Bandh” on December 8 called by farmers’ unions in protest against the new farm laws introduced by the central government. Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said that his party will hold demonstrations in all states on Tuesday.
“Congress has supported the voice of farmers and will support Bharat Bandh on December 8 in every district and state. All parties and even NDA allies are concerned. Our district and state units will hold demonstrations,” Khera told a news agency. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) president MK Stalin also extended support to the Bharat Bandh.
“The Opposition has already said that we will support the bandh (December 8th Bharat Bandh) and participate in it,” he said. Communist Party of India (CPI) general secretary D Raja said that the Central government, instead of being adamant, should repeal the new farm laws.
“The government should not remain adamant and should agree to repeal anti-farmer, anti-national agrarian laws. After several rounds of talks, the government is not conceding. Farmers have given a call for Bharat Bandh. Our party has given support and extended solidarity with protesting farmers,” he said. Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) spokesperson Sudhindra Bhadoria said that his party is in support of farmers and their call for Bharat Bandh.
“After these bills came, farmers are protesting. But the government is not listening to them. The government should leave this attitude and agree to farmers’ demands. BSP chief Mayawati has supported Bharat Bandh. BSP is in support of farmers,” he said. Telangana Rashtra Samithi Member of Legislative Council (MLC) K Kavitha also announced her party’s support for the Bharat bandh.
However, Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Saugata Roy said that his party stands with protesting farmers but will not support Bharat Bandh in West Bengal. “TMC stands with agitating farmers but we will not support Bharat bandh in West Bengal. It (bandh) goes against our principles,” he said.
Other Opposition parties including Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Samajwadi Party (SP), All India Forward Bloc (AIFB), Shiv Sena and National Congress Party (NCP) have also extended their support for the ‘Bharat Bandh’ call. The leaders of the Opposition parties issued a joint statement while extending solidarity with farmers call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8 demanding the withdrawal of “retrograde Agri-laws”.
Sukhbir Singh Badal led Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which left the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to protest against farm laws, has also announced to lend its support to Bharat Bandh. The Rashtriya Loktantrik Party (RLP), an ally of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Rajasthan has also extended its support to the call for ‘Bharat Bandh by farmers’. Demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should withdraw the farm laws, party chief Hanuman Beniwal on Sunday announced that the party will decide on whether or not to stay in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) after December 8.
Meanwhile, Congress MPs from Punjab staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, demanding a winter session of Parliament to discuss farmers’ issues. “Session should be called; anti-farmer laws should be reconsidered and withdrawn. The government is avoiding the session. It is against democracy,” Congress MP Manish Tewari said.
Hundreds of farmers have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26 against the three newly enacted farm laws–Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Farmers’ leaders have held several rounds of talks with the government but all of them remained inconclusive so far. After the fifth round of talks, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has called another meeting on December 9.