New Delhi, Dec 8 (UNI) The four-hour ‘Bharat Bandh’ and ‘chakka jaam’ on Tuesday called by farmers and supported by 19 opposition political parties demanding repeal of the three farm laws, evoked mixed response with farmers remaining peaceful but political activists turning violent and disrupting rail and road traffic in many parts of the country.
The nation-wide lockdown from 1100 hrs ahead of the crucial sixth round of talks between the farmers and government on Wednesday, was supported by major political parties including Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), AAP, TRS and several others.
BJP leaders accused the opposition political parties of having ‘’hijacked’’ the farmers agitation for their own political survival and ‘’shooting the gun from farmers’ shoulders.’’
Home Minister Amit Shah has called a meeting with the striking farmers at 1900 hrs, a day before the sixth round of talks. Five rounds of talks have so far been held between the government and the striking farmers without any result. The striking farmers are asking for total repeal of the three farm laws while the government is ready for making amendments.
A joint delegation of five opposition leaders will meet President Ram Nath Kovind at 1700 hrs on Wednesday. The delegation will include Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, NCP leader Sharad Pawar and others.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar met Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar at the latter’s residence and discussed the situation.
Fearing hijacking of the Bandh by political parties, the centre had on Monday issued an advisory to state governments and Union Territory administrations to maintain law and order and strictly observe COVID precautions.
Farmers leaders had initially said they would not allow any political party or leader to hijack the Bandh. However, activists of various political parties blocked national highways, disrupted rail and road traffic in many states and resorted to stone pelting.
Congress and BJP activists clashed in Jaipur while in Patna, political activists disrupted vehicular traffic and damaged private vehicles. On GT–Karnal road at Singhu border on the outskirts of the national capital, activists of various political parties shouted slogans and disrupted traffic.
Protestors blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana while shops and commercial establishments remained closed at most places in Punjab and Haryana. Public and private transport services remained shut in Punjab.
In West Bengal TMC did not support the Bandh.