MUMBAI: The Maharashtra Cabinet on Wednesday expressed regret over the death of farmers in the violence at Lakhimpur Kheri, while the ruling allies here called for a statewide bandh on October 11 to protest against the incident in the Uttar Pradesh district as they sought to corner the BJP over the tragedy.
The Shiv Sena, the NCP and the Congress, allies in the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA), gave the call for Maharashtra bandh to protest against the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, where eight people, four of them farmers, were killed on Sunday.
The incident in the BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh found a mention in a meeting of the state cabinet, where ministers condoled the death of farmers and stood in silence for two minutes as a mark of respect.
The meeting was presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, whose party Shiv Sena heads the MVA government.
The state cabinet passed a resolution expressing regret over the death of farmers in the incident, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said after the meeting.
“The MVA has called for a statewide bandh on October 11 against the Lakhimpur Kheri violence. We appeal to people to participate in the bandh,” water resources minister and state NCP president Jayant Patil said after the cabinet meeting.
The BJP-led government at the Centre is trying to “crush” farmers and it is necessary to protest against it, he said.
Patil said essential services will be exempted from the ambit of the shutdown.
He clarified that the bandh has been called by the three parties who are constituents of the MVA and not the state government.
Patil was flanked by his cabinet colleagues Eknath Shinde (Shiv Sena) and Balasaheb Thorat (Congress) when he made the announcement about the shutdown.
NCP president Sharad Pawar had likened the Lakhimpur Kheri incident to the Jallianwala Bagh massacre which took place under the British rule, and also accused the BJP-led central and Uttar Pradesh governments of misusing power.
Shiv Sena chief spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Tuesday and said a united opposition is very important to save democracy in the country.
“I met Rahul Gandhi. I have also held discussions with him on the Lakhimpur incident. A united opposition is very important for the country and to save democracy,” Raut had said while pitching for a joint opposition action on the UP tragedy.