NEW DELHI: 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 would lend their “whole-hearted” support to the December 8 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 in 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 basis 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 out in support of the stir and Bharat bandh call, though they were not 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 in the day, Congress said on December 8, the party would hold day-long protests in all district and state headquarters in solidarity with the farmers. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi has backed the farmer community, demanding that the government give in to their demands.
“The entire world is witnessing the plight of our farmers. The entire world is seeing the horrible sight of farmers sitting outside the capital in the middle of the night in winter waiting for the government to listen to them,” Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said, slamming the government for the hurry with which the farm laws were enacted.
Khera claimed the Centre did not take farmers into confidence and was now claiming to work in their interest. “What we are seeing today is the result of a conspiracy between the government and its corporate friends, wherein the victim will be the farmer, and the farmer knows this,” he added.