Full text: Joint statement by 16 political parties in solidarity with farmers

Photo: Meer Faisal/Maktoob

Opposition parties have decided to boycott the president’s address in Parliament on Friday, in solidarity with the farmers protesting the farm laws.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad on Thursday said that a total of 16 opposition parties will boycott President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament before the Budget session.

The 16 parties include Congress, NCP, J-K National Conference, DMK, AITC, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, RJD, CPI (M), CPI, IUML, RSP, PDP, MDMK, Kerala Congress (M) and AIUDF.

“The major reason behind this decision is that the Bills (farm laws) were passed forcibly in the House, without opposition,” he said.

Read the full text of the statement issued by opposition parties here:

India’s farmers have been collectively fighting against the three farm Laws arbitrarily imposed by the BJP Government that threaten the future of Indian Agriculture which sustains over 60% of India’s population and the livelihood of crores of farmers, sharecroppers and farm labour.

Lakhs of farmers have been agitating at the gates of National Capital of Delhi braving biting cold and heavy rain for the last 64 days for their rights and justice. Over 155 farmers have lost their lives. The Government remains unmoved and has responded with water cannons, tear gas and lathi charges. Every effort has been made, to discredit a legitimate mass movement through government sponsored disinformation campaign.

The protest and the agitation have been largely peaceful. Unfortunately, there were few acts of violence on January 26, 2021 in the National Capital of Delhi which was condemned universally and unequivocally. We also express our sadness over the injuries sustained by Delhi Police personnel while handling the difficult situation. But, we believe that an impartial investigation will reveal the Central Government’s nefarious role ln orchestrating those events.

The three Farm Laws, are an assault on the rights of the States and violate the federal spirit of the Constitution. If not repealed, these Laws will effectively dismantle the edifice of National Food Security that rests upon — MSP, government procurement and Public Distribution System (PDS). The farm bills were brought without any consultations with States and Farmer Unions and lacked national consensus. Parliamentary scrutiny was bypassed and the Laws were pushed through muzzling the Opposition, in brazen violation of Parliamentary rules, Practices and conventions. The very constitutional validity of these Laws remains in question.

The Prime Minister and the BJP Government remain arrogant, adamant and undemocratic in their response. Shocked by this insensitivity of the Government, we, the following opposition political parties, reaffirming the collective demand for the repeal of the Anti Farmer Laws and in solidarity with the Indian Farmers, have decided to boycott the President’s address to both the Houses of Parliament on Friday, January 29, 2021.