Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday reached out to farmers protesting on the Delhi-Haryana border against new farm laws pushed through Parliament a few months ago by the Centre.
At an internal meeting of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) organised online, Banerjee laid down the roadmap for protests against the farm laws in the state. She called for a nationwide protest against the legislation.
Earlier in the day, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien reached Singhu on the Delhi-Haryana border and connected Banerjee to farmer leaders over the phone. In her message to the protesters, the chief minister said, “I want to thank you for raising the farmers’ issue. I also went on a 26-day hunger strike when the land of farmers was being forcibly seized. That is why your movement is my movement and we are ready to extend any help you need. If you want, I can even send people to be with you. The anti-farmer laws must be withdrawn. You must keep up your movement till they are withdrawn.”
Banerjee said the changes made to the Essential Commodities Act were wrong, and claimed that the Centre had brought in many laws forcibly.
“They think people have voted for them so they can do anything, sell the country. We don’t want Modi to sell the country. That’s why we must work together and make India the India of farmers, workers, mothers and sisters.”
Thanking her for the support, a representative of the farmer leader said, “Her support is very valuable. We always knew Mamata ‘behen ji’ works for India, its people and minorities.”
Opposition parties questioned Banerjee’s support for the protesting farmers, claiming those in the state were suffering.
Banerjee said the TMC would observe an all-religion day on December 6 on the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary. From December 8 to 10, the party will organise sit-ins against the Centre at the Mahatma Gandhi statue on Mayo Road and on Brabourne Road.
Reacting to Banerjee’s conversation with the protesting farmers, BJP leader Samik Bhattacharya said, “Just to divert attention from burning issues in Bengal, the chief minister has suddenly taken up farmers’ issues.”
CPI(M) leader Mohammed Salim on Thursday said it took the chief minister nine days to express concern about the protesting farmers.
“It took Mamata Banerjee 9 days to get ‘concerned’ about farmers. Our comrades in Bengal were subjected to police brutality for protesting against farm bills. What Modi does in Delhi, Didi does the same in Bengal. It’s not too late, merge TMC with BJP,” he tweeted.
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