Eleven political parties extend their support to the farmers’ call for a Bharat Bandh on December 8

Published : December 06, 2020 20:32 IST

Members of the Muslim community prepare food for farmers during their agitation against the farm laws, at Singhu border near Delhi on December 6. Photo: Manvender Vashist/PTI

The ongoing farmers’ protests received a shot in the arm after 11 political parties—the Congress, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Samajwadi Party (S.P.), the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), the All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party—extended their support to the call given by farmers’ organisations for a nationwide bandh on December 8

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), one of the broad fronts leading the protest along with the Bharatiya Kisan Union units of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, welcomed the stand of the 11 political parties. In a meeting held on the national highway at Singhu Border, Haryana, the farmers’ organisations declared that the Bharat Bandh would last only until 3 p.m. They requested the traders. community, workers’ unions in the organised and unorganised sectors to support the bandh and urged the public to keep their vehicles off the road on December 8.

On December 5, after the fifth round of consultations with the farmers’ representatives yielded no results, the government fixed December 9 for the next round of talks. The farmers’ organisations were disappointed that the government’s attitude continued to be insensitive towards them. They did not commit themselves to attending the December 9 meeting and observed a silent protest instead, holding placards that had “yes” and “no” inscribed on them as a response to the government’s entreaties. IThe national working group of the AIKSCC observed that the government was digressing from their main demand for the repeal of the three farm laws. There was no room for compromise, it said, adding that it was the government which had imposed the laws unilaterally but was trying to project the impression that the farmers were stubborn and unrelenting.

On December 6, the farmers’ organisations had a meeting and decided that they would attend the talks on December 9, but reiterated that there would be no going back on their demand for repeal of the three farm laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020. Jag Mohan Singh of the Bharatiya Kisan Union Punjab told Frontline that the government was trying to fool the farmers. “In yesterday’s [December 5] meeting, we wanted them to commit to repealing the laws, but they didn’t,” he said. He also rubbished the claims by the Agriculture Minister that the government had undertaken many welfare schemes for the farmers. “Forget doubling our income. These laws are designed to halve our incomes. It is non-negotiable. They have to repeal the laws. You know I have seen many governments and many Prime Ministers but never before have I seen such a dishonest Prime Minister ruling the country,” he said.

Meanwhile in Fatehabad district, Haryana, angry villagers put up signboards banning the entry of representatives from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jannayak Janata Party (JJP), which run a coalition government in the State. It was the Haryana government that directed its police to use water cannons and tear gas shells to disperse farmers from Punjab who were on their way to Delhi as part of the Delhi Chalo protest call given by farmers’ organisations against the three farm laws and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill.