BENGALURU: With farmers’ unions all set to hold rallies, sit-in protests and agitations across Karnataka on Monday as part of their dawn-to-dusk bandh, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has appealed to the leaders to call off their stir. Insisting that a bandh cannot be allowed, the CM on Sunday said his government and its decisions were pro-farmer.
Farmers unions like the Karnataka Pranthya Raitha Sangha, Karnataka Hasiru Sene, etc., have called for a bandh protesting against controversial farm and land bills by the Union and State Governments from 6 am to 6 pm on Monday.
After the CM’s talks with farmer union leaders failed, the organisations have decided to go ahead with the bandh, backed by labour unions, Dalit organisations, opposition parties like the Congress and the JDS and most importantly, pro-Kannada organisations.
While farmers’ union leaders have threatened to block state and national highways, the Karnataka Government has warned of strict action against anyone disrupting normal life on Monday. “Our government’s stand and the PM’s intentions are pro-farmer. We brought amendments to allow farmers to sell their produce with full freedom anywhere in the country and have fulfilled a long-pending request. Our farmers’ union leaders should at least now understand this.
They should stop this unnecessary bandh. There is no scope for a bandh, it will not be allowed,” the CM said. Even as the government insisted that public transport will not be stalled, the Ola and Uber drivers’ association has backed the bandh. Protesting farmers, members of labour unions and student organisations will gather at Town hall at 11 am.
“The Modi and Yeddyurappa governments are snatching the lives and livelihoods of our farmers. The diabolical amendments to the Land Reforms Act and APMC Act are proof of conspiracy to enslave our farmers. Karnataka Congress supports the bandh call given by farmer organisations,” said Randeep Singh Surjewala, AICC general secretary in charge of Karnataka.
Surjewala arrived in Bengaluru on Sunday to lead the party’s protest. KPCC president D K Shivakumar and legislature party chief Siddaramaiah will also participate in the protest outside party headquarters.
Former PM H D Deve Gowda too said his party supports farmers. “The JDS unequivocally backs the statewide bandh called for by farmers unions against the land reforms which pose the danger of rendering small and marginal farmers landless, lured by big corporate companies,” he said.