Lucknow, Jan 29 (PTI) As the farmers' protest at Ghazipur border in Ghaziabad got a new lease of life, the opposition Congress, Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party on Friday rallied support for the movement and slammed the BJP over the contentious farm laws.
The size of Bharatiya Kisan Union protesters camping at the Ghazipur border with Delhi had come down to around 500 Thursday night following an ultimatum given by the local administration to vacate the site, as additional security force personnel were deployed there.
However, the crowd increased manifold overnight and continued during the day as more protesters joined the stir from western UP on the call of BKU leaders.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also threw his party's weight behind the farmers' movement and hit out at the BJP for 'torturing' the peasants and levelling “false accusations” against them.
'The BJP wants to defeat the farmers, who feed everyone, by keeping them hungry and thirsty, levelling false accusations against them. But barring a few BJP supporters, rest of the 125 crore Indians are still standing with the farmers. SP is with the farmers!” Yadav tweeted in Hindi.
'Spoke to (BKU leader) Rakesh Tikait ji just now and enquired about his health. The whole country is watching the way the BJP government has accused and tortured farmer leaders. Today even the supporters of BJP are bowing their heads in shame and hiding their faces. Today, the spirit and sympathy of the country is with the farmers,” he said in another tweet.
The former Uttar Pradesh chief minister also alleged that the protesters were pelted with stones by BJP hooligans at the Singhu border protest site, where violence broke out on Friday.
'Just now the BJP hooligans have pelted stones at the farmers' movement on the Singhu border. The whole country is watching how the BJP is torturing the innocent farmers of the country for some capitalists. The conspiracy of the BJP and the cruelty done to children, women and elderly farmers is condemnable,” Yadav tweeted.
Congress Uttar Pradesh unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu reached the Ghazipur border to express solidarity with the farmers' movement.
'The Congress stands with full force in support of farmers and the Congress will not allow the farmers' movement to become weak at any level,” Lallu said, according to a statement from his party.
He also assured the farmer leaders that his party will stand by them and fight till the withdrawal of the three contentious agricultural laws enacted last September by the BJP-led central government.
BSP supremo Mayawati also joined the growing clamour, announcing her party will boycott the President's address to the joint sitting of both Houses over the Centre's stand on the farmers' demand to repeal the new agri laws and its 'dilly-dallying' approach on matters of public interest.
'In protest over (the Centre) not accepting the farmers' demand of repealing the three controversial agri laws and adopting a dilly-dallying approach in matters of public interest, the BSP has decided to boycott the President's address in Parliament,' Mayawati said in a tweet in Hindi.
'Also, I request the Centre to take back the farm laws and normalise the situation in Delhi. Innocent farmers should not be made a scapegoat in the wake of the violence on Republic Day. There is a lot of truth in the objection of BKU and other leaders from UP in this matter,' the former UP chief minister added.
Delhi witnessed violence during a tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting at Delhi's borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh demanding rollback of the Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
The protesting farmers have expressed apprehension that these laws would pave the way for the dismantling of the minimum support price system, leaving them at the 'mercy' of big corporations.
However, the government has maintained that the new laws will bring farmers better opportunities and usher in new technologies in agriculture. PTI KIS SMI SMN SMN