As farmers call for Bharat bandh on December 8, leaders of multiple parties have said that they would extend their full support to the protests demanding repealing of the three agri-marketing laws. Congress President Sonia Gandhi, DMK chief MK Stalin, NCP head Sharad Pawar, Sitaram Yechury, D Raja and Samajwadi Party head Akhilesh Yadav have said that they would lend "whole-hearted" support to the December 8 bandh.
The party heads issued a joint statement that said that the new laws were passed in an anti-democratic manner in Parliament. They said that structured discussion and voting were prevented in the Parliament. They said the laws threaten India's food security, destroy Indian agriculture and the farmers. The laws "lay the basis for the abolishment of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) and mortgage Indian agriculture and our markets to the caprices of multinational agri-business corporates and domestic corporates," they stated.
The parties were also joined by regional bigwigs such as Shiv Sena, Trinamool, Akali Dal, AAP as well as BJP allies such as Assam Gana Parishad and Rajasthan's Rashtriya Loktantrik Party in their support for the Bharat bandh. However, they did not sign the statement.
Meanwhile, a number of bank unions have also expressed solidarity with the protesting farmers. The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) issued a statement and said that the government should come forward and resolve the demands of the nation and the farmers. Officer unions All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) and Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC) have also asked the government to resolve the impasse by referring the bills to a committee.
Farmers across the country have expressed concerns about the three new laws -- Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 -- that could pave way for dismantling of the minimum support price (MSP). They argue that that would leave them at the mercy of the big corporations.
"Our nation needs peace and main stakeholders of the nation should not be made to suffer, as the agriculture sector alone performed positively in the COVID-19 pandemic, which reflects the inherent strength of the sector," three officers' unions said in a joint statement.