12 opposition parties extend support to farmers’ nationwide protest call on May 26

In a joint statement, the leaders referred to a letter they had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws “to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people”.

Leaders of 12 major opposition parties on Sunday extended their support to the call for a countrywide protest on May 26 given by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) — the umbrella body of farmer unions protesting against the Centre’s three agricultural laws.

May 26 marks six months of the protest by farmers’ groups at Delhi’s borders.

In a joint statement, the leaders referred to a letter they had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 12, demanding the repeal of the three farm laws “to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people”.

The signatories to the statement are Sonia Gandhi (Congress), former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda (JD-S), West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee (TMC), Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Tamil Nadu CM M K Stalin (DMK), Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren (JMM), Sharad Pawar (NCP), Farooq Abdullah (JKPA), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejaswi Yadav (RJD), D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPM).

“We demand the immediate repeal of the farm laws and the legal entitlement to the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of C2+50 per cent as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission. The Central Government must stop being obdurate and immediately resume talks with the SKM on these lines,” they said.

The last round of talks between the government and farm leaders was held on January 22, though the Prime Minister had invited farmer groups for resumption of talks in February.

Addressing Parliament while replying to the motion of thanks on the President’s Address in February, Modi argued that he respected the farmers voicing their views on the farm laws but defended the need for reform and change.

Addressing Rajya Sabha on February 8, he had urged the farmers to call off the agitation and come to the discussion table, assuring them that if there are any shortcomings and loose ends in the laws, these can be addressed.

In their letter to the Prime Minister on Friday, the SKM leaders had made it clear that they remain firm on their core demands – “repeal of the three anti-people Farm Acts and legal guarantee for every farmer securing MSP (@C2+50%, besides protecting farmers from the adverse impact of the proposed Electricity Bill”.

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