Amid the Bharat Bandh called by farmers protesting against three central farm laws on Tuesday, Home Minister Amit Shah invited them for a meeting a day ahead of their scheduled talks with the Government.
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait, who is camping at the Burari site away from the highways blocked by farmers from Punjab and Haryana, said he was rushing to the Singhu Border to meet with other leaders before they head for the meeting with the Home Minister scheduled around 7 pm.
According to the farmers’ organisations, roughly 15 leaders will meet the Home Minister including Rakesh Tikait, Gurnam Singh Chaduni, Shivkumar Kakaji, Hannan Mollah and 11 others from farmers’ organisations in Punjab.
All borders were sealed in Delhi while the Bandh had a partial response from traders ad transporters whereas the bank unions declared that they would be wearing black badges as a gesture of support without striking work. Opposition leaders stayed away from the protest sites although almost all opposition parties are supporting the Bharat Bandh call.
“It was a conscious decision on our part to stay away from the protest sites. The farmer groups have also told us that they want it this way. So, we have no party banners at the protest sites. However, our MPs are there as parliamentarians to show solidarity. We do not want to politicise the issue. It is not just the Left parties but all opposition that has taken this call that except our MPs, no leader will join the farmers,” said CPM General Secretary Sitaram Yechury.
Meanwhile, a delegation of farmers and Left leaders including K. K. Ragesh, CPM MP from Rajya Sabha and joint secretary of the All India Kisan Sabha, P. Krishnaprashad, Mariam Dhavale, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Vikram Singh, Surekha of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) and Sathvir Singh of Construction Workers Federation of India were detained at Bilaspur in Gurgaon while protesting against the farm laws and in support of the Bharat Bandh.
Five opposition leaders, including former Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Sitaram Yechury are expected to meet President Ramnath Kovind over the farm laws.