To extend their support and express solidarity with farmer unions, members of the local Congress unit led by former legislator Muzaffar Hussain observed a day-long token hunger strike in Mira Road on Bharat Bandh, which had been called on Friday to protest against the Central government to register protest against the agriculture bills and fuel hike.
Meanwhile, the Congress party also staged protests in parts of Maharashtra against the Centre’s three farm laws, with the party’s state chief Nana Patole warning that it will intensify the demonstrations if the Narendra Modi government does not heed the farmers’ stir near Delhi.
Patole, who led the party’s hunger strike at Mahatma Gandhi statue near Mantralaya in Mumbai, also hit out at the Centre over the rise in fuel prices and labour reforms.
Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Mumbai Congress president Ashok alias Bhai Jagtap and ministers Yashomati Thakur, Amit Deshmukh, Varsha Gaikwad and others also took part in the agitation staged in support of the Bharat Bandh call given by some farmers’ bodies.
“The Narendra Modi government enacted the farm and labour laws after trampling on democratic values and traditions. There is anger across the country against the laws,” Patole said.
He alleged that farmers’ have been protesting near the Delhi border for the last four months, but the Modi government refuses to give up its “obdurate” approach.
More than 300 farmers have lost lives during the protest, he claimed.
“The Prime Minister has gone abroad (Bangladesh) today when the farmers’ bodies have called a Bharat Bandh. This is arrogance. We will intensify protests if the Modi government does not take note of the farmers’ stir,” Patole said.
Noting that the Centre has stayed the implementation of the farm laws, Chavan said the Modi government should now frame new laws after holding a discussion with farmers.
“The new laws should be kept before the standing committee of the Parliament,” he added.
Jagtap claimed that, compared to India, petrol and diesel are cheaper in Pakistan and Nepal. “Loot is on in India,” he alleged.
Other Congress ministers in the Maha Vikas Aghadi government Balasaheb Thorat, Sunil Kedar, Satej Patil and Vishwajeet Kadam took part in the party’s protests in Shrirampur (Ahmednagar district), Savner (Nagpur), Kolhapur and Sangli respectively.
Besides, road and rail traffic was disrupted in several parts of Punjab and Haryana during the Bharat bandh called by farmers today as part of their nationwide protest against the three agri laws.
Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana, and squatted on railway tracks at several locations.
The Samkyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which is spearheading the farmers’ stir, had called for the bandh from 6 am to 6 pm to mark four months of the agitation at Delhi’s three borders — Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri.
(With input from agencies)