October 03, 2021

Bandh – A Big Success

THE September 27 bandh called by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) has been a big success. This massive protest action took place exactly a year after the three farm laws came into force with the assent given by the President of India on September 27, 2020.

The bandh call saw the participation of crores of people – farmers, agricultural workers, industrial workers, transport workers, employees, shop keepers, students, youth and women. 

Most of the opposition parties, including regional parties, extended support to the bandh.  An exception was the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, which opposed the bandh and the state government there took action against the protestors. 

In terms of participation and the breadth of support, this bandh met with a wider response compared to the March 26 bandh call this year by the SKM.  At that time, four states – Assam, West Bengal, Tamilnadu and Kerala – and the union territory of Puducherry which were going for elections were exempted from the bandh.  This time the bandh affected all these states with Kerala coming to a complete standstill. The participation of trade unions, traders’ organisations and other sectors was also wider. This underlined the growing worker-peasant unity in action.

The bandh was an emphatic reminder that the farmers’ struggles which began on the borders of Delhi on November 26 last year and which has been going on for ten months has not lost momentum.

Given the intransigence of the Modi government to withdraw the three farm laws, the bandh was a signal that not only will the struggle go on but it will intensify.  The farmers’ movement has also geared up to take on the ruling party politically with its decision to go ahead with the campaign against the BJP in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections. The Muzaffarnagar mahapanchayat, which saw the participation of lakhs of farmers was a powerful expression of this resolve.

(September 29, 2021)