The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal in Bihar said today that it will take out a demonstration here on Saturday in protest against the agriculture bills, which have triggered massive protests in northern parts of the country.
The party’s state unit chief Jagadanand Singh made the announcement at a press conference in presence of leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav, saying, “the dharna will be held at Gandhi Maidan, in front of the statue of the Mahatma whose vision is under attack from the proposed legislations which intend to give a leeway to big private players in agriculture sector”.
Addressing the press conference, Mr Yadav appealed to farmers across the state to lend their support to the ongoing stir, claiming that Bihar’s agriculture was already under stress because of the Nitish Kumar government’s more than a decade-old move of scrapping the APMC mandis and authorising PACS (primary agriculture credit societies) for procurement.
“It needs to be realised that the government in the state has been brazen in violating the interests of farmers.
The new system has put them at a clear disadvantage. And the chief minister’s party has shown its priorities by supporting the contentious bills in Parliament,” Mr Yadav alleged.
He also mocked Sushil Kumar Modi, a former deputy chief minister and senior BJP leader, who is set to enter the Rajya Sabha, for raising doubts over the intent of the agitating farmers.
“If indeed the intent is doubtful, he should tell us why is his party’s government holding talks with the agitators,” Mr Yadav said.
He expressed anguish over the “obstinacy” shown by the Narendra Modi government in coming out with a written assurance that minimum support price will remain protected, even after the bills were passed by Parliament.
“Pressure is mounting. The Akali Dal which has been the BJP’s oldest ally, quit the NDA and its minister Harsimrat Kaur gave up her post in protest against the bills. Parkash Singh Badal has returned his ‘Padma Vibhushan’. But, the government seems unmoved,” the RJD leader said.
Replying to a query, Mr Yadav denied that the RJD was joining the bandwagon of protests after these hogged much limelight and Left parties, his allies in the state, held a nationwide stir on the issue earlier this week.
“We had hit the streets in protest against the bills way back on September 25. I was very much present, driving a tractor as part of the procession. Our poll plank during the assembly elections was ‘padhai’ (education), ‘kamaai’ (employment), ‘dawaai’ (health care) and ‘sinchaai’ (irrigation) in which concern for the agricultural class was implicit,” he added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)