Supporters of the opposition Grand Alliance in Bihar formed human chains across the state today to express solidarity with the farmers who have been protesting in the national capital seeking the repeal of the contentious farm laws.
Leader of the opposition Tejashwi Yadav took part in the demonstration in front of the Buddha Smriti Park in Patna, where he was joined by alliance partners, and workers from the Left.
The opposition leaders stood at their designated spots for close to 30 minutes, beginning half past noon. Many of them held hands but many others chose to simply stand with a safe distance from each other in view of the physical distancing norms because of COVID-19.
The RJD leader said Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's remark suggesting that the opposition seemed to have taken a leaf out of his book was "petty."
Mr Kumar had earlier said: "We had organised human chains in 2017 in support of prohibition and against dowry and child marriage the following year. Last year, a human chain held to spread awareness about climate change, in addition to the issues we had previously raised, broke all records."
"It is nice that others are also drawing inspiration. Everybody has the right to hold such programmes," the Bihar Chief Minister had said when asked about the Opposition's human chain formations.
To this, Mr Yadav said: "It is a petty remark. Is he the first person to have ever held a human chain? He should instead make his stand clear on the new farm laws."
The RJD had also taken part in the 2017 human chain while it shared power with Nitish Kumar's party. Its jailed supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was then out on bail, had stood at Gandhi Maidan to demonstrate his support for liquor ban.
RJD national spokesperson Manoj Jha said: "The human chains sponsored by the chief minister depended upon the bureaucracy for its success. Officials concerned were given targets of turnouts to achieve. What is happening here today is spontaneous."
Mr Jha, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, described the Centre's talks with protesting farmers as "a monologue, instead of a dialogue, a reason why Delhi's borders at Singhu and Ghazipur have been on fire."
Prominent among those who took part in the human chain at the state capital were CPI(ML) secretary general Dipankar Bhattacharya and Congress legislature party leader Ajeet Sharma.
In Nawada, local Congress MLA Neetu Singh was among those who
participated in the demonstration. In Begusarai, Congress, the RJD and Left workers stood in front of the district headquarters to show solidarity with the farmers.
No untoward incident was reported from anywhere, though the officials said the human chain was held without permission.
Leaders of the ruling NDA in the state claimed that the human chain was a "flop."