Leaders of eight political parties on Wednesday held a protest at the Communist Party of India (Marxist) headquarters here against dilution of labour laws in a few BJP-ruled States. They alleged that the ruling party was imposing its political agenda during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The symbolic protest comes after leaders of the CPI(M), the CPI, the CPI (ML), the Forward Bloc, the Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal, the Loktantrik Janata Dal and the VCK sent a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind last week.
“The country should be united in fighting the coronavirus and there should be a single minded focus. So, we are saying, please stop your agenda and immediately give ₹7,500 to all those families that won’t come under income tax net and do this for the next three months. And every person who is hungry today should be given 10 kg of food grains for six months. Leave alone suspending labour laws, there shouldn’t be any dilution and the Prime Minister should fulfil his promise of protecting jobs” CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said.
“We are following physical distancing but expressing social solidarity,” he added.
Apart from Mr. Yechury, who participated in the protests included Sharad Yadav (LJD), D. Raja (CPI), Dipankar Bhattacharjya and Kavita Krishnan from CPI (ML), Manoj Jha (RJD), Tapan Sen and Nilotpal Basu (CPI-M).
“In the name of fighting the corona pandemic, the government should not dilute the existing laws and aggressively pursue neo-liberal policies,” Mr. Raja said. The government had meted out inhuman treatment to migrant workers, he said.
“After 50 days of lockdown the Prime Minister’s speech was disappointing ... What he said in the name of self reliance is also worrying as not just labour laws but even laws relating to land acquisition and banking could be changed,” said Mr. Dipankar Bhattacharjya.
“Migrant workers and dignity of labour are a fundamental issue for us,” Mr. Manoj Jha said.