Mumbai, Dec 8 : The ‘Bharat Bandh’ call given by farmers’ organisations and national opposition parties evoked a good response in Maharashtra on Tuesday, especially in rural and semi-rural centres, and for the first time drew the peasantry and working classes close to the masses, organisers said.
While all agricultural produce market committees (APMCs) across the state remained deserted without conducting any transactions in the morning, shops and commercial establishments, particularly in cities and towns, remained largely unaffected as the retailers organisations have kept off the shutdown.
The Bharat Bandh was supported by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi allies Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party, and the Congress, as well as the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Vikas Aghadi, most farmers parties, both independent or affiliated to political parties, Dalit parties, the CPI, the CPI-M and other Leftist parties, several students organisations and students of major academic institutions, the Trade Unions Joint Action Committee with scores of trade unions headed by Vishwas Utagi, including all bank unions in the state, besides many other big and small groups with employees in the trade and commerce sectors.
Many towns in Konkan districts of Thane, Palghar, Ratnagiri, Raigad, Sindhudurg, besides the farming centres in Marathwada, north and western Maharashtra and Vidarbha wholeheartedly joined the shutdown though essential services were functioning normally.
Road blockades were held in Thane, Palghar, Solapur, Pune, Aurangabad, Nashik and certain other districts which were later dispersed by the police and security forces.
Though a majority of the wholesale markets across the state remained shut, retail vegetable markets and local vendors were working in the morning in some cities, and State Transport buses operated only critical services on certain routes, besides other essential vehicles.
Shiv Sena leaders Kishore Tiwari, Sena Minister Abdul Sattar, SSS leader Raju Shetti, NCP leaders Jayant Patil, Congress leader Balasaheb Thorat, All India Kisan Sabha leaders Ashok Dhawale and Ajit Nawale, TUJAC Convenor Utagi, CPI-CPM leaders termed the shutdown as “successful”.
Thorat said that the agitation has “become a mass movement” with huge participation by the common people expressing their outrage at the blatant manner in which the the BJP is favouring a handful of industrialists.
Utagi termed it as “a rare and successful effort towards bringing the farmers and working classes closer to the masses for the common agenda of opposing the 3 black farm laws of the BJP government”.
Leading an agitation, Minister of State Omprakash Babarao Kadu, alias Bachu Kadu called the 3 new farm laws as a “dacoity” of the farmers by Bharatiya Janata Party-led Central government and demanded its repeal.
At sit-in (dharna), Minister Abdul Sattar termed the 3 new laws as a ‘Hitler-style’ assault on farmers which was never done by any government or even the British rulers in the past.
Congress Minister Vijay Wadettiwar demanded that “the BJP must give up its arrogance and immediately revoked the 3 farm laws” which are designed to destroy the farmers of the country.
Sena Minister Dada Bhuse said the BJP should have consulted farmers’ organisations before implementing the 3 farm laws to ensure complete transparency.
The state government has already informed the Centre on the various contentious aspects of the 3 farm laws and expressed hope that these would be addressed.
The NCP and Congress organised demonstrations in Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune and other cities to express solidarity with the farmers agitating outside Delhi.
While prominent leader Baba Adhav led an agitation in Pune, in Thane, NCP leader Anand Paranjpe was arrested while making a bonfire of the 3 farm laws.
In a unique show of support, a large number of Gurudwaras and Punjabi associations organised human chains between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, besides a vehicle rally.
Several parties joined together to organized a motorcycle rally in Thane, but it was scuttled midway by the police on grounds that it hampered traffic.
In a surprise development, 83-year old social crusader Kisan Baburao alias Anna Hazare joined the farmers agitation by holding a daylong token hunger strike at his native village Ralegan-Siddhi in Ahmednagar.
However, the state Opposition BJP and its allies have kept off the shutdown and accused all the other parties of misleading the farmers and people.
Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.