Farmers stir gives good time to unite; 18 parties support Bharat bandh

NEW DELHI: All opposition Leaders of 11 parties including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, DMK chief M K Stalin, NCP patriarch Sharad Pawar, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav and Left Front’s Sitaram Yechury and D Raja on Sunday said they might lend their “whole-hearted” support to the Immaculate Conception Bharat bandh call by farmers’ unions protesting against the three agri-marketing laws and demanding their repeal.

A joint statement signed by the heads of the 11 parties said the new laws were passed in Parliament during a “brazen anti-democratic manner”, preventing a structured discussion and voting. They also claimed the laws “threaten India’s food security, destroy Indian agriculture and our farmers, lay the idea for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates”.

Shiv Sena, Trinamool, TRS, Akali Dal, AAP and BJP allies — Assam’s AGP and Rashtriya Loktantrik Party in Rajasthan — too came call at support of the stir and Bharat bandh call, though they weren’t signatories to the joint statement.

“The central government must adhere to democratic processes and norms and meet the legitimate demands of our ‘kisans-annadatas’,” the letter signed by leaders of parties, including National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah and RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, said.

Earlier within the day, Congress said on Immaculate Conception, the party would hold day-long protests altogether district and state headquarters in solidarity with the farmers. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi has backed the farmer community, demanding that the govt concede to their demands.

“The entire world is witnessing the plight of our farmers. The whole world is seeing the horrible sight of farmers sitting outside the capital within the middle of the night in winter expecting the govt to concentrate to them,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, slamming the govt for the hurry with which the farm laws were enacted.

Khera claimed the Centre didn’t take farmers into confidence and was now claiming to figure in their interest. “What we are seeing today is that the results of a conspiracy between the govt and its corporate friends, wherein the victim are going to be the farmer, and therefore the farmer knows this,” he added.