Patna, December 5
The opposition parties on Saturday held demonstration here under the leadership of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav in protest against new farm laws and pledged support to the farmers agitating for repeal of the legislations.
Joined by leaders of Congress and the Left parties at the dharna site, the RJD leader extended support to the nationwide strike called by the farmers’ organisations against the agricultural legislations on December 8.
Barring CPI-ML other constituents of the Grand Alliance were present at the sit-in.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninsts) (Liberation) did not participate in the dharna organised by the RJD as the party had organised “road blockade” across Bihar during the day to protest against the farm laws, party’s state secretary Kunal told PTI.
Besides, the party did not receive any information with regard to the RJD’s dharna, Kunal added.
Tejashwi and others were denied permission by the district administration to hold dharna in front of the statue of Father of the Nation inside Gandhi Maidan following which they held the protest outside gate number four of the sprawling grounds in the heart of the capital town.
Later, the administration allowed a handful of the leaders including Tejashwi Yadav, RJD Bihar unit chief Jagadanand Singh, former minister Shyam Rajak, Congress leaders Madan Mohan Jha and Ajeet Sharma and those from the Left to go inside Maidan to garland the statue of Mahatama Gandhi where they expressed resolve to continue their support to the agitating farmers.
RJD had on Friday announced that dharna would be held in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi whose vision was under attack from the proposed legislations which intend to give a leeway to big private players in agriculture sector.
A senior Patna district administration official, wishing anonymity, told PTI that “dharna inside Gandhi Maidan is not allowed as it is a ‘prohibited area’. If anyone has to stage a sit-in, they can do so at Gardanibagh which has been declared as designated place to hold dharna”.
Besides, the administration has to ensure that COVID-19 rules are adhered to, he said, adding that gathering or any sort of procession, dharna are not allowed at a public place in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Yadav, who is the younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad took a swipe at the NDA government in the state for not allowing them to hold protest inside the Gandhi Maidan.
“The day when a top leader of the believers of killer of the Father of the Nation is in the town, the BJP government in the state has locked Mahatama Gandhi inside the maidan,” the RJD leader said taking a veiled dig at Mohan Bhagwat who is in the town to hold meeting with the RSS functionaries.
“I am standing with the Annadata (providers of food) in their fight against the Dhandata (people who owns wealth). Is it a crime to raise voice in support of farmers demanding provision for Minimum Support Price (MSP) in the newly enacted laws? If it is a crime, then we will commit such crimes every time,” Tejashwi said in a tweet.
The Central government has taken a decision (bringing farm laws) after giving due consideration in order to privatise everything, Tejashwi said, adding, “We have been saying it for quite a long time that they (BJP) will sell everything if they come to power. It is becoming a reality now.”
“What is the problem in giving assurance for MSP to farmers for their produce? If it (MSP) is not ensured then, farmers will be ruined.”
The ruling JD(U) attacked Yadav for himself sitting on a raised platform during demonstration while others, including Jgadanand Singh, sat on the ground.
“Will @yadavtejashwi tell the people as why he is trying to show him (Jagadanand Singh) his status by making him sit at his feet. Jagada babu is a symbol while your intention is to trample the social grouping.
“The prince of jungle raj should reply whether your motive has been fulfilled,” JD(U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar said in a tweet.
One brother (Tej Pratap Yadav) refered to the late RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh as “a lota (pot) of water that makes no difference to an ocean” while another made senior party leader Jagadanand Singh sit at his feet during the dharna, said Neeraj.
Jagadanand Singh is a close associate of Lalu Prasad.
The JD(U) leader was referring to Tejashwi’s statement during Assembly polls when he said the poor used to walk before “Babu Saheb”, a term used to refer to upper caste Rajputs in Bihar, with their head held high when Lalu Prasad was in power.
The casteist remarks had triggered controversy following which the RJD leader had come with his defence that he was actually refering to “Sarkari Babus” (government officials) who have been denying justice to the weaker sections under the patronage of Nitish Kumar government. PTI