New Delhi, Apr 19: The UPA Government today found itself under increased pressure over the rising prices as it's Left allies took to streets along with the United National Progressive Alliance(UNPA) to register their protest against its ''pro-rich'' policies. The leaders said it was now time for a people's movement to force the Government to change its agenda.
Left leaders, including Prakash Karat and A B Bardhan along with UNPA leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Chandrababu Naidu, Om Praksah Chautala, Amar Singh and others took out a march here from the Constitution Club and courted arrest before submitting a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding some immediate steps to solve the agrarian and food crisis.
They demanded a ban on future trading in all essential commodities and withdrawal of all Bills, which are aimed at allowing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in commodities market.
The UNPA and the Left asked the Government to universalise the Public Distribution System (PDS) for bringing immediate relief to the people including pulses and edible oil in PDS.
The memo also included the demand to roll back the oil price hike, Change in petro-products taxation structure.
It said the essential commodities law should restore its original force for checking hoarders and black marketers from making use of the situation.
Earlier, at a seminar on inflation which was attended by some prominent economists, the UNPA and Left leaders, speakers after speaker refused to buy the Government explantion that the rise in prices in the country was part of the global price rise.
The UNPA and the Left further said the rising prices of essential commodities and the agrarian crisis was of the Government's own making. The cost of input in agriculture has been increased without ensuring the farmers adequate return for his produce. The speakers came down heavily on the Government for leaving the goodgrain trade to corporate players, and diluting the Essential Commodities Act which was leaving the field free for black marketeers and hoarders.
They demanded a ban on forward trading, saying it was responsible for speculation, and made a forceful plea for increasing subsidy to agriculture.
The speakers also assailed the UPA Government's policies giving free play to market forces, and said such policies were leading to concentration of wealth in the hands of just a few people.
UNPA chairperson Mulayam Singh Yadav said the Government had been left with no will-power to check the price and there has been left no way except to launch a mass agiation to dislodge such a government.
Others who spoke include TDP chief and UNPA convenor Chandra Babu Naidu, AGP chief Vrinda Goswami, National Conference leader Farooque Abdulla, former Resrve Bank Governor and Rajya Sabha member Bimal Jalan, CPI(M) leader Prakash Karat, CPI leader A B Bardhan and economists Prof Jayati Ghosh, Prof Anand Kumar, P C Chandra Shekhar and veteran journalsit M J Akbar.