Top Opposition leaders, in a joint statement on Sunday, extended support for the December 8 Bharat Bandh call by the agitating farmers and said the new farm laws would “destroy agriculture by mortgaging it to corporates”.
The joint statement was signed by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, DMK president M.K. Stalin, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI’s D. Raja, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav and CPI(ML)’s Dipankar Bhattacharya among others.
“These new laws, passed in Parliament in a brazen anti-democratic manner preventing a structured discussion and voting, threaten India’s food security, destroy agriculture and our farmers, lay the basis for the abolishment of the minimum support price and mortgage agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multi-national agri-business corporates and domestic corporates,” read the joint statement released by the CPI(M) office.
Asking the Centre to listen to the ‘legitimate’ demands of our Kisans-Annadatas, the Opposition leaders said, “We the undersigned leaders of political parties extend our solidarity with the massive struggle by the farmers organised by various kisan organisations from across the country and extend our support to their call for Bharat bandh on December 8 demanding the withdrawal of these retrograde agri-laws and the Electricity Amendment Bill”.
Talks between the Narendra Modi government and farmer leaders have been deadlocked as different farmers’ organisation have been demanding the repeal of the three farm bills — The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020; Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020; and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020.
The government first introduced them in June in the form of ordinances and subsequently ensured its passage in Parliament in September as key reform measures in the agriculture sector.
It said the laws will eliminate middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.
The farmers have expressed apprehension that they would pave the way for the elimination of MSP and mandis and will leave them at the mercy of big corporates.