With several trade unions backing the ‘Bharat Bandh’ and many announcing parallel protests in support of the farmers, nearly all Opposition parties have come out in a rare show of unity against the BJP-led government in lending support to the nationwide strike on Monday.
In Lucknow, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav was stopped from heading to Kannauj to launch his party’s Kisaan Yatra against the new farm laws as police detained the former chief minister for nearly five hours. Police also beat up SP workers and supporters who were accompanying the SP chief.
According to senior officials in Lucknow, the Kannauj district administration had denied permission to the Samajwadi Party to hold the march, citing Covid and had imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in the districts.
“People are seeing the double standards of the BJP which itself is organizing events but is arresting the Opposition in the name of coronavirus. BJP is desperate because now even the common citizens have joined the farmers. When a government becomes the oppressor, a protest turns into revolution in no time. We will see for how many days, BJP will stop us,” Akhilesh tweeted.
The Congress, NCP, Trinamool Congress, DMK and its allies, TRS, RJD, AAP, Samajwadi Party and the Left are among the political parties that are backing the strike.
In Delhi, several Congress MPs staged a sit-in at Jantar Mantar, demanding that the winter session of Parliament be immediately convened to discuss what they called “extremely serious issues” confronting the country, including the farmer unrest.
Manish Tewari, the MP of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, said, “After 1952, this is perhaps the first time that the winter session of Parliament is being scuttled in this manner by the government. We could understand if the country had been in a state of lockdown and Parliament could not be called… But now everything else is going as business as usual… Why is the Winter Session not being called?”
Meanwhile, at a rally in West Bengal’s Medinipur, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee backed the Bharat Bandh and asked the BJP government at the Centre to either withdraw the “anti-people” farm laws immediately or step down.
In Rajasthan, BJP ally Rashtriya Loktantrik Party, led by Hanuman Beniwal, backed the bandh call and announced a march to Delhi on December 12 to lend its support to protesters.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury lashed out at the BJP for allegedly misleading the people of the country and spreading misinformation about the opposition parties who have shown solidarity with the farmers.
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