Bharat Bandh: Do we even have a democratic government, ask protesters

A protest rally being taken out from Town Hall to Mysore Bank Circle in Bengaluru on Monday over the Union government’s agriculture reform laws.   | Photo Credit: MURALI KUMAR K.

Farmers’ leaders in Karnataka on Monday vowed to fight the farm laws enacted by the Union government, however long it may take.

With Dalit, labour and Kannada organisations joining the rallies on Bharat Bandh day to oppose the farm laws, the protests expanded into a wider critique of “privatisation and pro-corporate policies” of the Centre in various parts of the State. The protesters also targeted Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, who had termed the farmers’ agitation a “sponsored protest” during his reply on price rise in the Legislative Assembly recently.

“This is no longer just about the farm laws. We are opposed to the corporate takeover of the country — airports, ports, highways, etc. The National Monetisation Pipeline announced recently is nothing but handing all of us over to the corporates, just like the farm laws do. The government is moving towards privatisation of electricity, which will hit all of us, including the farmers. The anti-cow slaughter Bill is another ploy to take away dairy farming from farmers,” said Kodihalli Chandrashekhar, president of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha.

Many farmer leaders termed the ongoing movement a “second freedom struggle”. Badagalpura Nagenda, convener of Samyukta Horata-Karnataka, said the regime that has not allowed the farmers of the country to enter the national capital would be “thrown out of Delhi”.

G.C. Bayyareddy, another convener of Samyukta Horata, said there was no question of backing down and the farmers were prepared to fight the farm laws to the end. “On November 26, we will hold a mega protest rally in Delhi to mark one year of the protests. We will soon meet and chalk out a strategy at the national level,” he said. Launching an attack on Mr. Bommai, Mr. Bayyareddy said, “We could call Mr. Bommai himself a sponsored Chief Minister.”

Mr. Chandrashekhar sought to know if “we have a democratic government”, considering it does not acknowledge a Bharat Bandh. He also said it was not dignified on the part of a Chief Minister to defame the farmers of the country.

A ‘failure’

BJP national general secretary C.T. Ravi termed the bandh a “failure” and claimed that the farmers of the country had not supported the protest which was “politically motivated and instigated by vested interests to create anarchy in the country”. He claimed that it proved that all the “common farmers” has sided with the agriculture reform laws.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2021 6:11:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/bharat-bandh-do-we-even-have-a-democratic-govt/article36704696.ece

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