The day-long Bharat Bandh (India-wide Shutdown) and Chakka Jam (Stop the Movement of Vehicles) between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM evoked tumultuous response across the country on December 8. Though the call was given by all the farmers’ organisations it got the support of at least 18 political parties, trade union associations and different traders’ bodies. Even foodgrains ‘mandis’ at various places have extended support to the farmers and have thus been closed.
The impact of the shutdown was quite palpable even in the BJP ruled states where all out efforts have been made to foil the farmers’ stir. The biggest mandi in UP capital, Lucknow, where as high as 15,000 to 20,000 farmers visit daily was closed on this occasion.
The shutdown call at many places evoked spontaneous response and even those supposed to be the supporters of the BJP have enthusiastically backed it.
The farmers’ outfits have appealed to the supporters not to stop the movement of ambulances and marriage parties during the shutdown period.
In Delhi strict police deployments has been made in Singhu and Tikri borders where thousands of farmers have gathered to press the immediate repeal of three farm laws.
While the impact of the strike call was quite palpable in North Indian states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, UP, Rajasthan, Delhi etc. big protest rallies and sit-ins were held in places as far as Chennai, Bengaluru, Patna, Mumbai, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram etc. The Trinamool Congress of Mamata Banerjee has not supported the Bandh call yet the chief minister herself has lent support to the farmers’ cause.
The shut-down call was given just a day ahead of Dec 9 talks with the government. Thus, the strategy was to put pressure on the government. Political observers are of the view that what is worrying for the BJP is that farmers of the states ruled by it such as Haryana, Uttarakhand, UP and MP are participating in a big way and converging to Delhi. Even Gujarat and Bihar which were not much in the news have evoked good response to the Bandh.