Tribune News Service
Kolkata, December 5
Representatives of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Saturday met senior leaders of West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) here in a bid to unite various regional parties of the country to lend support to the farmers agitating against the farm Bills passed by the Modi government.
A SAD team led by the party’s senior vice president Prem Singh Chandumajra had a meeting with Sudip Chattopadhyay and Derek O’Brien, leaders of TMC at Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, respectively, at the Trinamool Bhavan here in this connection.
Later, talking to media persons, Chandumajra said the protests at Delhi-Haryana border, though spearheaded by farmers, had started getting support from all sections of the society.
Similarly, though the movement had started from Punjab, its appeal had spread far and wide. The message sent out by the agitation had even travelled beyond the border as the remarks by the Canadian Prime Minister had shown, Chandumajra said.
The SAD leader, who revealed that he had a telephonic conversation with West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee two days back, said it was time that political parties also threw their weight behind the agitating farmers.
The former Anandpur Sahib MP said the farm Bills, besides paving the way for corporatisation of agriculture, also amounted to an assault on federalism since agriculture was a state subject.
The loss of the mandi fees or taxes as envisaged by the Bills was bound to upset states, he said.
Noting that the SAD led by Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal was a pioneer among the regional parties, Chandumajra said Mamata Banerjee was a premier leader of a regional party.
The SAD senior vice president said he would meet the leaders of other regional parties also to mobilise support.
This would be followed by a meeting of representatives of various regional parties in Delhi to draw up a strategy to strengthen the ongoing agitation by farmers. The proposed meeting in Delhi would take place sometime in the middle of December, Chandumajra said.
TMC leader Sudip Bandopadhyay said if the Central government really wanted to retain the system of grain procurement by state agencies, there ought to have been mention of MSP in the farm Bills. He said the Bills should be withdrawn or sent to standing committee or a select committee of Parliament.
On the Bharat bandh on December 8 called by the agitators, Bandopadhyay said while TMC would extend moral support to the call, its volunteers would not take part in enforcing it. Mamata Banerjee has already announced that she is wholly supporting the agitation by farmers.