Several political parties have come out in support of the 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by farmer unions which have been protesting on Delhi's borders for 11 days demanding repeal of the Centre's new agri-marketing laws.
The Trinamool Congress, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), and the Left parties had earlier extended their support to the call for the December 8 nation-wide strike, given by the farmers who are protesting against the farm laws.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, the Congress, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) joined the other opposition parties in extending support to the 'Bharat Bandh', in addition to a joint platform of ten central trade unions and transport and trade associations from over 12 states.
Here is the complete list of political parties backing the countrywide strike:
• Indian National Congress
• Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)
• People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — consisting of the National Conference (NC), People's Democratic Party (PDP) and multiple mainstream regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir.
• Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M)
• Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML)
• Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP)
• Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)
• Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)
• Samajwadi Party (SP)
• Communist Party of India (CPI)
• All India Forward Bloc (AIFB)
• Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)
• Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS)
• All India Trinamool Congress (AITC)
• Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)
In a press statement published on Sunday (December 6), the chiefs of various political parties extended their solidarity with the ongoing farmers' protest and supported their call for a 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8.
"These new Agri-Laws passed in the Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, 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 out markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates," the statement read.
The letter was titled 'Support December 8 Bharat Bandh' and signed by veteran leaders like Sonia Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, MK Stalin, and Akhilesh Yadav, extending the support on part of their respective political parties.
Meanwhile, the Shiv Sena is also expected to extend its support for the 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by various farmer organisations against the three central farm laws.
Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, have been protesting on different borders of the national capital since November 26. The Centre's offer to amend the contentious laws failed to cut ice with the farmer groups during the fifth round of talks on Saturday.
After the fifth round of talks remained inconclusive with farmers` leaders, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has called another meeting on December 9.
The minister renewed his appeal to the farmers to end the stir and assured them that the Modi government remains committed to farmers' interests. He also requested farmer unions to send the elderly, women and children back to their homes from protest due to cold weather.
The three newly enacted farm laws in contention are -- 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.
The three farm laws have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates.
The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.