The deadlock between farmers and the government continued as five rounds of talks failed to end the impasse. Both sides are set to meet again on December 9, a day after the nationwide Bharat Bandh strike called by farmer unions.
The strike has gathered widespread support from the opposition parties, trade unions, auto and taxi unions. Services across sectors may remain affected during the nationwide strike.
"We have announced 'Bharat Bandh' on December 8, which will start in the morning and continue till evening. During the strike, shops and businesses will remain shut. Ambulances and emergency work will be exempted from the Bandh," farmer leader Baldev Singh Yadav said.
Delhi, Haryana likely to be most affected during Bharat Bandh
Commuters in Delhi may face problems as some auto and taxi unions in the city have decided to join Bharat Bandh. Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association President Sanjay Samrat said in a statement that several unions, including Delhi State Taxi Cooperative Society, and Kaumi Ekta Welfare Association will join the strike on December 8.
Sarvodaya Driver Association of Delhi, comprising mainly drivers working with cab aggregators, said it will also join the strike.
Additionally, Delhi's Azadpur Mandi and all other mandis in the city will also remain closed tomorrow in support of the strike.
Farmers have stayed put at Tikri, Jharoda, Singhu, Auchandi, Piao Maniyari, Mangesh borders of the national capital. The Delhi Traffic Police advised people to take alternative routes for entering and exiting the city.
According to farm union leaders the bandh will be observed the whole day tomorrow. 'Chakka jam' will be observed till 3 PM.
"It will be a peaceful bandh. We are firm on not allowing any political leaders on our stage," farmer leader Dr Darshan Pal said.
Meanwhile, Air India in a statement said that for those passengers who are unable to reach the airport due to possible disturbance on December 8, no-show charges will be waived and one free date change allowed for those with confirmed tickets for travel on December 8, 2020 from any Indian Airport.
Bank services may take a hit during the bandh
Bank services are likely to be affected on December 8 as a number of bank unions have expressed their solidarity with farmers and requested the government to resolve the issue at the earliest.
The All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) in a statement said the government should come forward and resolve their demands in the interest of the nation and farmers.
All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC), All India Bank Officers' Association (AIBOA) and Indian National Bank Officers' Congress (INBOC) have also requested the government to initiate meaningful dialogue to resolve the impasse by referring the bills to a select committee by a special Presidential Order.
Trade unions, Punjab Hotel and Restaurant Association lend support
The joint forum of trade unions that has supported the farmers' stir includes Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC).
In Punjab, the Hotel and Restaurant Association has said that barring pre-existing marriage and banquet bookings already confirmed, all hotels, restaurants, resorts and bars will remain closed on December 8 to show support to Bharat bandh.
Opposition parties to participate in the strike
Extending "wholehearted" support to the Bharat Bandh, Congress said that it will hold protests on December 8 at all district and state headquarters in solidarity with the demands of the farmers.
"All our district headquarters and Pradesh headquarters will participate in this bandh. They will hold demonstrations and ensure that the bandh is successful," said Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera.
The Samajwadi Party said that it will organise farmer rallies in all districts of Uttar Pradesh from December 7. Party chief Akhilesh Yadav is also slated to take part in such a rally in Kannauj district.
TRS president and Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao said the party rank and file would actively participate in the bandh to ensure it was a success, according to an official statement.
AAP workers across the country will join the nationwide strike, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced. AAP leader and Delhi Environment Minister Gopal Rai, too, said volunteers and workers will participate in the strike to support the farmers.
"The Aam Aadmi Party fully supports the Bharat Bandh' call made by farmers on December 8. AAP workers across the country will support it peacefully. There is an appeal to all countrymen that everyone should support the farmers and participate in it," Kejriwal tweeted.
The ruling TMC in West Bengal said that it would stage sit-ins in various areas for three days. TMC MP Sudip Bandopadhyay said his party, during its protest programmes in Bengal, would seek immediate withdrawal of the farm laws and that the new bills be sent to the standing committee or select committee of Parliament after due deliberations with all stakeholders.The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, a farmers' body, said it would join the ‘non-violent’ protest on December 8.