Easter Times, New Delhi : West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday told protesting farmers at the Singhu border here, “your movement is our movement since it is for the farmers…it is a people’s movement…
the entire country’s movement… we will stand by you in whatever help you need from Bengal… if you want we will send our people to stand by you, till the time they repeal the anti-farmer laws you keep your movement going… They (Centre) have wrongly changed the essential commodities act and many other laws… they have taken people’s votes, now they feel they can do anything by force, sell the country… we do not want that (PM) Modi ji sells off the country… together we will work for a country for the farmers, for workers, for youth, for women… wishing you the best for your movement…”
Expressing her solidarity with the farmers on Friday, Banerjee spoke to them over phone, saying her “full support” lies with their movement to get the Centre to withdraw the farm bills that were “forcefully passed” by the Centre.
The chief minister recalled her own pro-farmer agitation at Singur, 14 years ago, when she began her hunger strike on December 4, to protest against farm land being taken away for industry.
The Singur movement that saw Banerjee’s 26-day hunger strike revived the fortunes of the Trinamool Congress and paved the way for Banerjee’s historic victory in 2011 against the 34-year Left Front regime in Bengal. She is preparing for assembly polls next year to claim a third term in office.
Banerjee, who has threatened to launch a country-wide agitation if the “anti-farmer” farm laws were not withdrawn, tweeted on Friday morning saying “14 years ago on 4 Dec 2006, I began my 26-day hunger strike in Kolkata demanding that agricultural land cannot be forcefully acquired.
I express my solidarity with all farmers who are protesting against draconian farm bills passed without consultation by Centre #StandWithFarmers.”
TMC MP Derek O’Brien who met the farmer leaders here and facilitated Banerjee’s interaction with them through his phone later said, “the chief minister spoke to the farmers. Four telephone calls to different groups from Haryana and Punjab, they shared their demands and they were clear that they wanted the farm bills (laws) repealed. They also thanked the CM for her show of solidarity and expressed their gratitude for all her support.”
In Kolkata, TMC MP Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar said, “We demand that these laws be withdrawn. These laws were passed not to help the farmers but were done to help multinational and corporate houses. The intention of BJP is to sacrifice the interest of farmers to serve its own interest,” while speaking to reporters on Friday.