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'Bharat Bandh' Apolitical: Maharashtra's Ruling Shiv Sena, NCP and Cong Support Farmers' Protest

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. (File photo: PTI)

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut. (File photo: PTI)

"This is not the bandh for raising demands of a political party, but to strengthen the voice of farmers of the country," the Rajya Sabha member said.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Monday said farmers' call for a 'Bharat Bandh' on Tuesday is apolitical and people of the country should willingly take part in it to express support to cultivators. Talking to reporters here, Raut also reiterated the Shiv Sena's support to the bandh.

Apart from the Shiv Sena, the NCP and Congress - two other constituents of the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) in Maharashtra - have declared support to the bandh. Various parties, including many regional outfits, have come out in support of the 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8 called by farmer unions which have been protesting on Delhi's borders for over 10 days, demanding the repeal of the Centre's new agri-marketing laws.

"People should willingly take part in the bandh. This will show true support to the farmers. This is not a political bandh though several parties have decided to take part in it," Raut said. "This is not the bandh for raising demands of a political party, but to strengthen the voice of farmers of the country," the Rajya Sabha member said.

He further said farmers are protesting for 12 days now on Delhi's borders "without worrying about the cold weather and the oppression by the government". "Hence, it is the duty of each citizen to support the farmers," he added.

Maharashtra minister and NCP national spokesperson Nawab Malik said workers of the Sharad Pawar-led party will join the shutdown by observing social distancing norms. Maharashtra minister and senior Congress leader Ashok Chavan said everyone should participate in the bandh to support farmers who have been agitating over the past fortnight in biting cold in Delhi.

Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) leader Prakash Ambedkar has also supported the bandh. "The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi will take part in the agitation tomorrow," Ambedkar tweeted.

Extending his support, Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana (SSS) leader Raju Shetti told reporters in Pune: "It is being projected that the ongoing agitation is limited to farmers from Haryana and Punjab. But the government should understand and take note that this is a nationwide agitation of cultivators". "Farmers are very angry. In such scenario, the role of the government should be that of a mother who should try to hear their concerns," Shetti said.

Left parties and the Aam Aadmi Party among others have already announced their support to the shutdown. Agriculture Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in Navi Mumbai, Nashik, Dhule, Pune and Solapur are likely to remain closed during the bandh.

first published:December 07, 2020, 15:45 IST