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UNPA leaders meet Karat, Bardhan; seek support to movement
January 07, 2008 12:49 IST
Last Updated: January 07, 2008 19:14 IST
Striving to close ranks with the Left, top leaders of the United National Progressive Alliance on Monday met their Communist counterparts Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan, seeking support for a nationwide movement on farmers' problems and the agrarian crisis.
The only agenda in their meetings with the Left leaders was to seek the support of the Communist Party of India -Marxist and the Communist Party of India for the series of farmers' rallies the United National Progressive Alliance is planning over the next few weeks, culminating in a massive sit-in near the Parliament House on the opening day of the Budget Session.
The meeting assumes significance as it comes at a time when one of their estranged ally the AIADMK, is cosying up with the BJP.
The proposed joint agitation also comes in the wake of the Left parties making it clear that no non-Congress, non-BJP 'Third Alternative' can be formed only for electoral purposes. It has to evolve out of joint struggles on common issues, the outside supporters of the ruling UPA coalition have said.
UNPA chairman and Samajwadi Party Chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, his colleague Amar Singh, Telugu Desam Party supremo N Chandrababu Naidu [Images] and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah met Bardhan and CPI National Secretary D Raja at the CPI headquarters. They also met Karat at the CPI-M office in New Delhi.
Besides the protest action in Delhi, the UNPA has decided to hold farmers' rallies at Mumbai, Sonepat (Haryana) and Ranchi in the next few weeks. A similar rally was held last month in Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Raja said the UNPA leaders urged the Left parties to join the farmers' agitation.
"We have told them we will consider their request, as we are busy with state unit conferences ahead of the party Congress (in April)," Raja said.
In reply to questions, he said that the government's claim to have four per cent growth in the agriculture sector cannot be achieved if the agrarian crisis, including the problems facing the farmers, was not resolved.
Observing that the government had come out with the National Agriculture Policy which was tabled in Parliament last session, Raja said the policy has not been debated. Neither has the report of the National Commission on Farmers, headed by noted agriculture scientist M S Swaminathan, been discussed.
He said that these issues would be raised both inside and outside Parliament in the ensuing Budget Session next month.