UNPA agitation on farmers' demand from Jan 20

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New Delhi, Jan 7(UNI) As a part of political mobilisation ahead of the Parliamentary elections anticipated this year, the United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) leaders today announced a countrywide agitation from January 20 on farmers' demands, including implementation of National Commission for farmers and higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) for rice and wheat crops.

The UNPA leaders, who seek realignment of non-Congress and non-BJP political forces at a single platform, said they were hopeful that the Left parties would also join their agitation on farmers' demands. And they had already met CPI(M) and CPI general sectretaries Prakash Karat and AB Bardhan in this regard.

Briefing the media, UNPA leaders comprising the Samajwadi Party and Telgu Desam Party chiefs Mulayam Singh Yadav and Chandra Babu Naidu and INDL leader Ajay Chautala said the farmers' rallies would be organised at Aurangabad on January 20, in Mumbai on Feruary 3, in Ranchi on February 10 and lastly at Sonepat on February 11.

Leaders of other parties joining the delegation were AGP leader Arun Kumar Sarma, MP and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Babu Lal Marandi.

Earlier, the leaders had submitted a memorandum to the Union Agriculture Ministry seeking raising the MSP for rice to a Rs 1470 a quintal and rice to Rs 1450 per quintal beside reframing the formula for determining MSP by adding the cost of family labour along with an incentive of 50 per cent to it.

Interestingly, Mr Yadav and Mr Naidu, who had been in the forefront to establish SEZs in their states during their regime, now criticised the SEZs as " Special Exploitation Zones" and swore to oppose the government's practice of acquiring of farmers' land for industrial purposes.

Mr Yadav also opposed the setting of Ganga Express Way beginning from Balia in UP which is to be inaugurated on January 15.

Besides, Mr Yadav and Naidu criticised National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme as a "total failure' and launched only to placate the villagers. UNI/JSS SB KP2057

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