Patna: Bihar’s Leader of Opposition Tejashwi Yadav rode a tractor from his residence to the Bihar Assembly on Monday in the support of the protesting farmers against the three Farm Laws. However, he was stopped at the main gate and not allowed to enter the premises by the police.
By riding a tractor to the state assembly to attend the second day of the ongoing Budget Session in the assembly, Tejashwi sent out the message that the opposition Mahagathbandhan will continue to oppose the Farm Laws and that it will stand with the protesting farmers.
Tejashwi staged his protest hours ahead of the NDA government's first budget presentation in the state assembly on Monday afternoon, making it clear that the RJD and its allies, the Congress, CPI-ML, CPI (M) and CPI will raise their voice against the contentious laws over the course of the session.
Tejaswi's protest was alss against the steep hike in petrol and diesel prices as well as that of onion, edible oil and other items.
“It was Tejashwi who rode a tractor in September last year and led a march against the laws in Patna,” said RJD MLA Bhai Virendra. According to the RJD leader, there was a tussle between the police and RJD leaders and workers when the former stopped Tejaswi's tractor.
The RJD, which has 74 MLAs in the assembly, staged protests against rising prices, growing unemployment and the leak of class 10 examination papers in the assembly portico. They were carrying placards and shouted slogans against the state government.
Left parties MLAs (CPI-ML’s 12 and two each of the CPI (M) and CPI) again staged a protest against the Farm Laws and in solidarity with the protesting farmers.
They said they would also raise the issue of police inaction in the case of farmers who were staging a peaceful sit-in protest against the laws and were injured after being attacked, abused and threatened in Muzaffarpur district earlier this week. Their posters and banners were torn and the dharna site was ransacked by an alleged group of sloganeering Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) members. There has been no arrest in the case so far.
The Congress’ 19 MLAs also staged a protest against the laws and in solidarity with protesting farmers in the lawn outside the main Assembly building inside its premises. Holding aloft hand-written placards, Congress MLAs shouted slogans against the three Farm Laws passed by Bharatiya Janata party-led National Democratic Alliance government in September last year.
“The farmers’ protest against the farm laws will continue till the government repeals them and we will support the farmers,” said Ajeet Sharma, leader of the Congress legislature party.
Former Union Minister Upendra Kushwaha's Rashtriya Lok Samata Party is also conducting Kisan Chaupals to create awareness against the farm laws and has threatened to launch a state-wide farmer protests on the lines of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The Mahagathbandhan has organised several protests against the Farm Laws over the past month. Nearly two-thirds of Bihar's total population of 12 crore is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood. Most of them are small and marginal farmers, as per government data. Moreover, nearly two-third of all agricultural activities in the state is dependent on rainfall.
Agriculture is the backbone of Bihar's economy, employing 81% of the workforce and generating nearly 42% of the state's gross domestic product, according to state government's figures.