New Delhi, Oct 30 (UNI) Hundreds of farmers today marched towards Parliament protesting against the UPA government's 'pro-industry and pro-business' policies which have been promoting trade and corporate agriculture at the expense of the farming sector, resulting in pauperisation of farmers.
The farmers' protest organised by Akhil Bharatiya Kisan Sabha, a CPI's farmers' front, was projected as an all-India initiative with support of wider political spectrum.
The rally, which culminated at the Jantar Mantar, was profusely supported and participated by the Left parties and their allies, besides the leaders from the Samajwadi Party, the TDP, Nationalist Congress Party and various farmers' organisations from adjoining states and Andhra Pradesh.
The farmers from all over the country assembled at Ramlila Grounds here this morning. Later, the slogan-shouting protesters carrying banners and placards walked down to Parliament Street and after they were stopped by the police, they held a rally there.
Speaking at the rally, CPI General Secretary A B Bardhan said the UPA government was openly favouring the industry and big business houses, rendering the rural people poverty-ridden.
And the prevailing poverty and economic distress among the farmers often resulted in suicides.
''Projection of 9-10 per cent growth in the GDP by the government will not help in eradicating the poverty from the face of rural India, rather it would help creating Ambanies, Birlas and Tatas,'' Mr Bardhan said, adding that a wide section of society was being excluded from the devleopment process.
Mr Bardhan was critical of the government's financial policies saying that it was attempting to protect the usurious money lenders by providing them new status as ''accreditted loan providers'' who would be raising funds from the banks for further dispersal to the farmers at higher interest rates.
CPI leaders Atul Anjan and Gurudas Dasgupta openly dubbed the UPA govenrment as ''anti-farmers, anti-labour'' and working for the welfare of big capital.
Other Left parties allies, including CPI(M) leader Nilotpal Basu, Forward Block leader Debabrata Biswash , RSP leader Aboni Roy, Trade Union leaders, Bharat Krishak Samaj leader Dr Krishan Bir Chaudhary also expressed similar views.
However, tone and tenor of the speeches of TDP leader Yerran Naidu, SP leader Ram Gopal Yadav was not that harsh and they did not present the farmers' case in capitalists-versus-others jargon.
However, they supported the broad demands of the farmers in respect to soft farm credit, renumerative price of farm produce and waiving of loans of small faremrs as spelled out by the National Farmers' Commission.
Later, the leaders handed over a 10-point demand charter to the government which sought arranging institutional loans for farmers at 4 per cent interest rate, waiving of loans of poor and marginal farmers, implmentation of land reforms, ban on developing SEZ on farm lands, ensuring renumerative prices for farm produce, among other demands.