Four Opposition-Ruled State Govts Back Bharat Bandh Called by Agitating Farmers

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Farmer Protest

Normal life is likely to be crippled between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI – At least four opposition ruled state governments have extended support to Bharat Bandh called by the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) on Monday, September 27. The call for nation-wide lock down, which has been given to mark the first anniversary of the three controversial farm laws getting Presidential assent, has garnered support from all sections of the society, including national and regional parties.

Kerala is likely to observe total lock down as both the ruling LDF and the opposition UDF are backing the Bharat Bandh. The state has already announced that all university examinations scheduled for Monday would be postponed. Public transport including buses, taxis, and auto-rickshaws will be off the road, but private vehicles can apply.

Shops and establishments would remain shut. Essential services like milk booths and medical shops will, however, function.

CPI-M’s acting state Secretary A. Vijayaraghavan, in a statement, called upon the people of Kerala to cooperate with the Bharat Bandh and to express solidarity with the agitating farmers of the country.

Leader of Opposition, V.D. Satheeshan, told media persons that the struggle of the farmers has to be given support and hence the Congress and the opposition UDF have extended support to the Bharat Bandh. He called upon people to support the farmers who were fighting against the “draconian” farm laws.

Essential services not included

According to the schedule given by the SKM, the Bharat Bandh will be held from 6 in the morning to 4 in the evening during which all government and private offices, educational and other institutions, shops, industries and commercial establishments as well as public events and functions will be closed throughout the country. However, all emergency establishments and essential services, including hospitals, medical stores, relief and rescue work and people attending to personal emergencies will be exempted. The bandh will be enforced in a voluntary and peaceful manner, the SKM has assured.

The Andhra Pradesh government has declared full support to the Bharat Bandh, state Information and Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) has said. The government has also extended support to workers of Visakhapatnam steel plant. Nani told reporters on Saturday that the state government has decided to stop APSRTC buses across the state from September 26 midnight to September 27 afternoon.

The ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu has appealed to the people, farmers, farmworkers and traders to take part in the proposed nationwide strike on September 27 by farmer unions and urged its functionaries as well to make the “Bharat Bandh” a success in the state.

Congress, RJD in support

The Chief Minister of Congress-ruled Punjab, Charanjit Singh Channi, has supported the bandh. In New Delhi, his Party spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said: “The Modi government is responsible for all round ruin of the farm sector. And now they are turning a blind eye towards the farmers who have been protesting for nine months braving the elements at the Delhi border. 600 farmers have died in this agitation but the government still insists on not talking about the farm laws.”

Rashtriya Janata Dal leader and former deputy chief minister of Bihar Tejashwi Yadav has also extended his support to the farmers’ call for the Bharat Bandh. In a tweet, Tejashwi Yadav said that in the meeting of the top leaders of the grand alliance parties held at the residence, it was unanimously decided to participate and support the Bharat Bandh called on September 27 “in protest against the anti-farmer policies of the NDA government”. “We are firm with the farmers,” he said.

Bank officers express solidarity

The All-India Bank Officers’ Confederation has extended its support to the bandh. It has requested the government to have a dialogue with the farmers on their demands and rescind the three laws at the centre of the standoff. The confederation said that its affiliates and state units will join in solidarity with the protest actions of the farmers all over the country on Monday.

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