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Left and UNPA leaders court arrest

delhi Updated: Apr 20, 2008 02:32 IST
Jatin Gandhi
Jatin Gandhi
Hindustan Times
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Moving together on the issue of price rise, top Left and UNPA leaders courted arrest on Saturday after their protest march to the Prime Minister’s office.

The march began at Rafi Marg towards South Block but was brought to an end before the processionists could move any further.

CPM leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI leaders AB Bardhan and D Raja, Samajwadi Party leaders Mulayam Singh Yadav and Amar Singh, INLD president Om Prakash Chautala, Telugu Desam Party president Chandrababu Naidu and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah courted arrest at the spot.

They were followed by CPM cadres carrying placards that twisted the Congress slogan “Congress ka haath aam admi ke saath” to announce “Congress ka hath mehngai ke saath.” SP and INLD workers were also present in large numbers, shouting anti-government slogans on price rise.

Leaders of the Left, which has continued to lend crucial outside support to the UPA for four years now, spoke on the importance of the coming together and working towards a third alternative to a Congress-led or BJP-led coalition at the Centre.

CPM general secretary Karat said the Left and the UNPA would chalk out a plan to keep the struggle going even after April 30 and that the Left and UNPA leaders will meet soon. “We are fighting unitedly against price rise. We have to come together again to find a solution to farmers’ problems. We have to provide a new third alternative,” Karat said.

His CPI counterpart Bardhan said, “More joint struggles by political parties against the government on such issues are necessary.”

“The Prime Minister has said it is beyond the government’s reach to control inflation. This shows a lack of will and a green signal to rising prices,” former UP chief minister Yadav said. Former Haryana CM criticised the government for “giving out large tracts of agricultural land to industries under the SEZ policy.”

He was joined in his criticism of the SEZ policy by the former Andhra chief minister Naidu. Naidu said SEZs are being used to promote the real estate business rather than industries. “We have to stay united and bring a new government at Centre,” Chautala said joining the chorus on the third alternative.