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Bharat Bandh Today Updates: Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and other Opposition leaders to meet President over farm laws tomorrow

Bharat Bandh Today Updates: Meanwhile, farmers will be meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah at 7 pm, as five rounds of talks have failed to break the impasse so far. Another round of negotiations is scheduled for Wednesday

FP Staff December 08, 2020 17:00:48 IST
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Bharat Bandh Today Updates: Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and other Opposition leaders to meet President over farm laws tomorrow

Thousands of farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at various border points of Delhi against the new farm laws for the last 12 days. AFP

Highlights

15:23 (ist)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

No one in Bengaluru supporting Bharat Bandh, says Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa claims that no one is supporting the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers’ in Bengaluru and other parts of the state, reports ANI.

“The state and the Centre is pro-farmer,” says the chief minister. “The prime minister won’t take any decision against farmers. It’s not right to give the call for Bandh for political reasons. Police will take proper action on breaking the law.”

14:07 (ist)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Delhi-Meerut highway blocked, say reports

 As per NDTV, the Delhi-Meerut highway has been blocked amid "Bharat bandh" - a nationwide shutdown called for by farmers protesting the farm laws. Transport services, offices, and shops - particularly those selling fruits and vegetables - in some states and cities are likely to be affected.

12:45 (ist)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Public transport almost unaffected in Maharashtra

Public transport services in Mumbai, including suburban trains and buses, and in other parts of Maharashtra largely remained unaffected on despite various organisations supporting the Bharat Bandh for repeal of the Centre's agriculture laws, officials said.

Services of local trains as well as out-station trains remained unaffected until now, said Shivaji Sutar, chief public relations officer (CPRO), Central Railway.

Leaders of taxi and autorickshaw unions told PTI that their services in Mumbai remained normal. A spokesperson of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), which operates a fleet of buses in Mumbai and metropolitan region, said almost 85 percent of the scheduled buses plied on roads.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) PRO Abhijit Bhosale said buses plied normally across the state, barring few places where they have curtailed operations either due to the poor passenger response or as a precautionary measure. Truck operators said the movement of goods was affected to an extent as several truckers chose not to operate in view of the shutdown.

Transportation of essential commodities like milk, vegetables and fruits have been excluded from the bandh, said Daya Natkar, secretary of Maharashtra Rajya Truck Tempo Tankers Vahatuk Sangh. Taxi union leader AL Quadros said taxis are plying in Mumbai as the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown had already hit the sector severely.

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Dec 08, 2020 - 17:08 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Mixed response to Bharat Bandh in UP; SP workers protest in many districts

The Bharat Bandh called by farmer unions, protesting the three Central agri laws, drew a mixed response in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday with shops and offices remaining largely open, while the Samajwadi Party held protests in a number of districts and even holding up a train in Allahabad.

Samajwadi Party leaders sat on a silent protest near the statue of former prime minister Chaudhary Charan Singh at the Vidhan Bhavan in Lucknow in support of the bandh. SP MLCs Rajpal Kashyap, Sunil Singh Sajan, Anand Bhadauria and Ashu Malik were part of it.

However, life in state capital remained mostly unaffected with District Magistrate Abhishek Prakash saying that attendances in offices were absolutely normal.

"The impact (of the Bharat Bandh) was zero in Lucknow as all the markets were open. The mandis were also open," he said.

-PTI

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:51 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Joint delegation of Opposition to meet President tomorrow: Sitaram Yechury

A joint delegation of Opposition parties will meet President Ram Nath Kovind tomorrow at 5 pm, says CPI (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury. He says the delegation will include Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar, and others. Due to COVID-19 protocols, only five people have been allowed to meet the President

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:41 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Oppn leaders have consciously decided to stay away from protest sites: Left leaders

Sitaram Yechury says the Left had made a conscious decision to stay away from protest sites, PTI reports. “The farmer groups themselves also told us that they would want it this way,” he says. “So, we have no party banners at the protest sites.”

He adds that the Left parties do not want to politicise the protests. “However, our MPs are there [at protest sites], as parliamentarians, to show solidarity. We do not want to politicise the issue.”

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:31 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Farmers block highways in Punjab, Haryana; shops, petrol pumps closed

Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday as part of the their nationwide protest to press for repeal of the Centre's new farm laws.

Shops and commercial establishments remained closed at most places in Punjab and several places in Haryana as traders backed the agitating farmers.

Public and private transport services remained shut in Punjab. In neighbouring Haryana, inter-state and intra-state bus services were disrupted.

Petroleum dealers in the twin states kept filling stations closed to support the ''Bharat Bandh'' called by the farmer unions.

-PTI

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:16 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

#WATCH: Clash erupts in Jaipur between BJP and Congress workers

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:12 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Mixed response to 'Bharat Bandh' in Uttarakhand

The 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmer unions against the Agri laws evoked a mixed response in Uttarakhand on Tuesday, with little effect seen in the hill districts of Chamoli, Pauri, Uttarkashi, and Rudraprayag while the border district of Pithoragarh observed a complete strike.

In the state capital, scores of party workers led by PCC president Pritam Singh marched from the state party office here to Paltan bazar to enforce the bandh but ran into arguments with shop owners who refused to down their shutters.

Later they sat on a dharna at the busy clock tower shouting slogans against the new farm laws causing a brief traffic jam in the area. However, police intervened to restore traffic detaining the PCC president along with his supporters and taking them to the police lines.

However, most shops in the Rajpur road area, the heart of the town remained open. Traffic was also normal except for the brief disruption due to the sit-in by Congress workers.

-PTI

Dec 08, 2020 - 16:04 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Coalfield ops normal, inter-state traffic affected in Jharkhand

The nationwide shutdown over the Centre’s new farm laws evoked a mixed response in Jharkhand on Tuesday with government offices functioning as usual, private institutions and shops closed in some areas, while local traffic was near normal but long-distance vehicles remained off the roads.

Protests and demonstrations were held in Ranchi, Dhanbad, Hazaribagh, Jamshedpur, Palamu, Dumka, Bokaro, Sahibganj and Pakur but no untoward incident was reported from anywhere, officials said.

Director-General of Police MV Rao said that the situation in all the districts was peaceful.

- PTI

Dec 08, 2020 - 15:43 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

Delhi Police rejects allegations from AAP against Kejriwal's house arrest

Anto Alphonse, Deputy Superintendent of Police North, Delhi Police, rejects the allegations made by Aam Aadmi Party that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been placed under house arrest, reports ANI.

“The deployment which is being seen outside the residence of Kejriwal is the regular deployment for the security of the chief minister,” says Alphonse. “We’re coordinating with the chief minister’s residence. Anyone whom they say they want to allow inside, we will allow.”

Dec 08, 2020 - 15:31 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

More farmers arrive from Haryana, Punjab, likely to hit supply of rations for protesters

More farmers from Punjab and Haryana trickled in at the Singhu border on tractor-trolleys and cars on Tuesday amid heavy security presence as a nationwide protest called their representatives against the Centre's farm laws was underway.

The ''Bharat Bandh'', however, hit the supply of essentials, including rice, wheat flour, lentils, oil, milk, soap, and toothpaste, for the protesters camping at the border for the 13th day on the trot.

"Obviously, the rations supply will be hit. But we have enough stacked up for another 2-3 months. We have come prepared for a long haul," Gurjaint Singh from Panipat was quoted by news agency PTI.

But the numbers have started to swell as many more are coming in on bicycles and carts, he said.

Dec 08, 2020 - 15:23 (IST)

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates

No one in Bengaluru supporting Bharat Bandh, says Karnataka CM

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa claims that no one is supporting the Bharat Bandh call given by farmers’ in Bengaluru and other parts of the state, reports ANI.

“The state and the Centre is pro-farmer,” says the chief minister. “The prime minister won’t take any decision against farmers. It’s not right to give the call for Bandh for political reasons. Police will take proper action on breaking the law.”

Bharat Bandh Today LATEST Updates: A joint delegation of Opposition parties will meet President Ram Nath Kovind tomorrow at 5 pm, says CPI (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury. He says the delegation will include Rahul Gandhi, Sharad Pawar and others. Due to COVID-19 protocols, only five people have been allowed to meet the President

Farmers blocked national highways and other key roads at many places in Punjab and Haryana on Tuesday as part of their nationwide protest to press for repeal of the Centre's new farm laws. Shops and commercial establishments remained closed at most places in Punjab and several places in Haryana as traders backed the agitating farmers.

NCP president Sharad Pawar on Tuesday said leaders from different political parties will discuss and take a collective stand on the contentious farm laws before meeting President Ram Nath Kovind.

The Opposition parties asking to roll back the three farm laws is hypocritical as they had passed the contract farming act while in power. Congress has mentioned the introduction of these laws in their manifesto, says Union Minister Prakash Javadekar

Calling the deployment of security outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, Anto Alphonse, DCP North, Delhi denied the party's claim of their chief being put under house arrest. "It is a general deployment to avoid any clash between AAP and any other party," he added.

The Aam Aadmi Party has claimed that Delhi Police has placed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal under house arrest.

RJD workers burnt a tyre in Bihar's Darbhanga in a show of support to the Bharat Bandh. Meanwhile in Karnataka, Congress leaders raise slogans against the Centre and held black flags in front of Gandhi statue at Vidhana Soudha in Bengaluru.

Swabhimani Shetkari Saghtana staged a 'Bharat Bandh Rail Roko' protest and briefly stopped a train today in Maharashtra's Buldhana district. Meanwhile, all examinations scheduled for today under Osmania University jurisdiction have been postponed.

A nationwide strike on Tuesday called by agitating farmer unions to press for repeal of the Centre's agriculture sector laws is likely to have an impact in some northern states after several trade unions extended support to it even as the farmer leaders said that no one should be forced to join the shutdown.

With almost all Opposition parties backing the 'Bharat Bandh' and many announcing parallel protests in support of the farmers, the Centre has issued an advisory directing all the states and Union Territories to tighten security and ensure peace is maintained. The railways. too asked its personnel to step up vigil saying protesters may organise rail blockades in 16 states.

Appealing to everyone to join the "symbolic" bandh, farmer leaders said they will block key roads during their 'chakka jam' protest from 11 am to 3 pm as part of their stir, which has drawn people from northern states especially Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi since the last 12 days.

"Our bandh is different from that of political parties. It is a four-hour symbolic bandh for an ideological cause. We want that there should be no problem to the common people. We appeal to them not to travel during this period," farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said. "We also urge shopkeepers to shut their outlets during this period," he said.

Bhartiya Kisan Ekta Sangathan president Jagjit Singh Dallewala asked farmers to maintain peace and not to try to enforce the shutdown. He said emergency services will be exempted during the bandh.

The leader also claimed the bandh will be effective across the country.

"The Modi government will have to accept our demands. We want nothing less than a withdrawal of the new farm laws," farmer leader Balbir Singh Rajewal said.

The Centre and the farmer unions are slated to hold the sixth round of talks a day after the bandh as previous discussions failed to end the deadlock.

Targeted by the Opposition parties, the BJP hit back and accused them of "shameful double standards", claiming many of them had endorsed these reforms when in power or had supported them in Parliament.

Senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Opposition parties have joined the agitation in a bid to save their existence after being repeatedly rejected by people in different elections across the country.

Prasad said a section of farmers has fallen in the grip of some people with "vested interests" and asserted that the government was working to address their misgivings about the reforms. He appreciated the protesting farmer unions for not associating their stir with any political parties.

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis also slammed the Opposition.

The agitating farmers have drawn support from various quarters including artists, sportspersons and workers' and students' groups.

Tuesday's strike could impact the transport of goods as the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), the apex body of transporters representing about 95 lakh truckers and other entities, said it will suspend operations in the entire country to support the bandh.

The Railways' two biggest unions, AIRF and NFIR have extended their support to the bandh and are planning to hold rallies and demonstrations in their support.  The All India Railwaymen's Federation has around nine lakh members.

They are the latest to show solidarity with the agitating farmers, who have found support from transport unions and the joint forum of trade unions like the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS) and the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

Traders' body CAIT and the All India Transporters Welfare Association, however, said markets across the country including in Delhi will remain open and transport services will also remain operative.

While the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) claims to represent around seven crore traders, AITWA said it represents 60 to 65 percent of the organised transport sector in the country.

Bank unions also said they will not participate in the Bharat Bandh on Tuesday, even as they expressed solidarity with farmers protesting against the new farm laws. All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) General Secretary Soumya Datta said the union has expressed its solidarity with farmers but will not be participating in the Bharat Bandh called by them.

Similarly, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary CH Venkatachalam said union members would wear black badges while on duty, stage protest after or before working hours and display placards before bank branches to support the cause of farmers of the country, but banking operations will not be hit.

The Congress, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress, DMK and its allies, TRS, RJD, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party and the Left are among the political parties that are backing the strike.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati too tweeted on Monday in support of the bandh and appealed to the Centre to accept the farmers' demands.

Several of these parties have announced protest programmes for Tuesday while supporting the Bandh call by the farmer groups, who have maintained that their stir is apolitical.

While the Congress has said it will hold protests that day at all district and state headquarters, the ruling TMC on West Bengal has announced sit-ins in various areas for three days.

The Congress said the Centre would be responsible for any inconvenience caused to people during the bandh.

Its Punjab unit president Sunil Jakhar said the farmers were justified in opposing these laws and urged all sections of people and political parties to support the Bharat Bandh, blaming the government for the impasse.

The Aam Aadmi Party said it will hold a peaceful demonstration in the National Capital.

In the wake of the call for bandh and protests, the Union home ministry in its advisory to state governments and UT administrations asked them to ensure that the COVID-19 guidelines issued about health and social distancing are strictly followed.

The states and UTs were told that peace and tranquillity must be maintained during the 'Bharat Bandh' and precautionary measures taken so that no untoward incident takes place anywhere in the country, a home ministry official said.

The bandh has been called against Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act 2020, all of which were passed by Parliament recently.

The three farm laws enacted in September have been projected by the government as major reforms in the agriculture sector that will remove the middlemen and allow farmers to sell anywhere in the country.

However, the protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that the new laws would pave the way for eliminating the safety cushion of Minimum Support Price and do away with the mandis, leaving them at the mercy of big corporates. The Centre has repeatedly asserted that these mechanisms will remain.

Addressing a press conference, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress' manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls had promised repeal of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act and make agri-trade free from all restrictions. "In 2013, Rahul Gandhi had given direction to all the chief ministers of the Congress-ruled states to delist fruits and vegetables from the APMC and allow them to sell it directly in the open market," Prasad said.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar had written as the Union agriculture minister in the UPA government to chief ministers strongly advocating for greater participation of the private sector in the farm sector and highlighting the need for making suitable regulatory and policy changes for that, Prasad said.

Prominent leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Pawar, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury, DMK chief MK Stalin and PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah had on Sunday issued a joint statement backing the bandh.

Meanwhile, police have increased deployment at various Delhi border points.

The Delhi Traffic Police on Monday tweeted about the closure of the Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari and Mangesh borders. The Tikri and Jharoda borders are also closed, it said and advised alternative routes for travelling to Haryana and UP. The National Highway-44 (NH-44) has also been closed on both sides. The Gazipur border on NH-24 is also closed for traffic from Gaziabad to Delhi.

Transport facilities, supplies of essentials like vegetables and fruits in the National Capital are likely to be affected.

The Delhi Police has warned of strict action against those trying to disrupt the movement of people or "forcibly" shut shops in the city. Some of the taxi and cab unions, including those associated with app-based aggregators, have also decided to join the one-day strike.

Major wholesale vegetable and fruit markets in the National Capital may be affected with a section of traders favouring the farmers' demands. "I have received calls from several traders' associations for strike on Tuesday. I believe the Mandis at Ghazipur, Okhla and Narela will also be closed due to 'Bharat Bandh' called by farmers," Adil Khan, chairman of Azadapur Mandi, said.

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