Political parties, other groups support farmers' Bharat Bandh on Dec 8

Farmers burn an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a protest against Farm bills at Singhu Border, in New Delhi on Saturday.
Days ahead of the nationwide bandh called by protesting farmers against the three acts, several political parties and other organisations such as Bank Employees Association extended their support to the bandh.

Sources said the Central government was working on fine-tuning its response to the issues raised by farmers, and ensuring that they are addressed to the satisfaction of all.

Farm union leaders in a press conference held in Delhi NCR today, reiterated their demand for a full repeal of the three acts and also the draft electricity bill 2020, while coming down on the Centre for its attitude to the demand of the farmers in the five rounds of negotiations so far.

“The Central government has been trying to push various ideas about a compromise even though there is no question of one—farmers cannot compromise on their constitutional right to life and livelihood and the government cannot snatch away such basic rights enshrined in the constitution,” the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), one of the organisations participating in the protest, said in a statement.

Among political parties, the Congress, TRS, DMK and the AAP along with other opposition parties extended their support to the ‘Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by farmers.

The Trinamool Congress, RJD and the Left parties, besides a joint platform of ten central trade unions, had on Saturday backed the countrywide strike.

NCP chief and former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar warned the Centre that if the deadlock continues, the agitation will not be limited to Delhi and people from across the country will stand by the protesting farmers.

Expressing the Congress' "wholehearted" support to the strike call, party spokesperson Pawan Khera said it will hold protests that day at all district and state headquarters in solidarity with the demands of the farmers.

Addressing the media at the AICC headquarters in Delhi, he said former party chief Rahul Gandhi, through tractor rallies, signature campaigns and Kisaan rallies, has been raising the party's voice in support of the farmers.

"All our district headquarters and Pradesh headquarters will participate in this bandh. They will hold demonstrations and ensure that the bandh is successful," Khera said.

TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the party rank and file would actively participate in the bandh to ensure it was a success, according to an official statement.

The DMK-led opposition bloc in Tamil Nadu too extended support to the strike, saying the farmers' demand for repealing legislation was "totally justified." DMK Chief M K Stalin had led a state-wide protest on Saturday against the farm laws.

In a statement, Stalin, TNCC chief KS Alagiri, MDMK founder Vaiko and Left leaders, among other DMK allies, said the ongoing protest outside Delhi by farmers was growing every day and drawing global attention.

The grouping appealed to farmer unions, traders' bodies, government employees' associations, labour unions and others in the state to extend "grand support" to the bandh and make it a success on Tuesday.

Actor Kamal Haasan's Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) also extended support to the protest by farmers.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that all AAP workers across the country will join the nationwide strike and appealed to all citizens to support the farmers.

The joint forum of trade unions that has supported the farmers' stir includes Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC).

The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a farmers' body, said it will join the "non-violent" protest on Tuesday.

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi for 11 days against the new farm laws.

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.

As the logjam continued, the Centre has called another meeting on December 9.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, after the talks on Saturday, renewed his appeal to the farmers to end the stir and assured them that the Modi government remains committed to farmers' interests.

Meanwhile, RSS-affiliate Bhartiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) had opposed the Bharat Bandh call given by other political parties and farmers groups on the grounds that it does not the bandh call as the farmers are already in talks with the Central government. 

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