Kolkata: The streets of Central Kolkata’s Esplanade turned red on Wednesday as the 12-day Long March called by the Left Front and INTUC culminated at Rani Rashmoni road. Over 18,000 people, mostly farmers from across West Bengal, had gathered and shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for imposing the National Register of Citizens (NRC). They also protested against the different anti-people and anti-farmer policies of the BJP.
In 2018 also, a similar Long March was conducted and had concluded on December 1.
On this occasion, Tapan Sen, national general secretary, CITU, said that the central government is trying to "sell all the industries to foreigners" and is not working for the benefits of the people.
“The BJP, with its majority, is trying to pass several bills, but people have now come to know their real intention and won’t support them in the implementation. The BJP government has completely destroyed the labour laws too,” said Sen.
Taking potshots at the BJP government, All India Kisan Sabha President Ashok Dhawale alleged that farmers are being deprived of their livelihoods by the saffron party.
The farmers at Long March in Kolkata. Courtesy: Ashok Nath Dey
“Farmers are denied even their basic rights. The farmers’ protest movement has intensified so much that women in Tamil Nadu have also hit the streets. More than 3.4 lakh farmers have ended their lives as they didn’t manage to make ends meet. The BJP and the RSS are trying to sell the country to America’s crème businessmen. BJP and RSS have destroyed the country in just five years,” said Dhawale.
Dhawale also added that over 10 lakh workers from the automobile sector have lost their jobs.
“Corporate sector is being made tax-free. Those who had fled after appropriating funds worth over Rs 12.54 thousand crore were getting their photos clicked with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the other hand, NRC and CAB are being used to divide Hindus and Muslims. They are following the footprints of the British. All-India strike on January 8 called by the farmers will be attended by the farmers across the country and BJP government will see the power of unity,” announced Dhawale.
Santosh Karmakar, a farmer from Singur, said that the BJP government had destroyed the democratic structure of the country.
“Because of several middlemen, our produce goes to waste. On top of that, prime minister, even after promising subsidies for the farmers, hasn't done anything. All of them will attend the protest rally in the national capital on January 8 to mount pressure on the BJP government,” said Karmakar.
A farmer with onion cut out during the march. Courtesy: Ashok Nath Dey
Trade Union Coordination Committee general secretary T Debranjan said, “Without consulting, BJP is passing bills on its whim and is killing the democracy. BJP is selling the country to the foreigners and is purposely keeping people busy so that they cannot hit the streets. NRC in Assam is not accepted even by the Hindus.”