Attacking the Congress for neglecting agriculture and driving farmers to suicide, the United National Progressive Alliance demanded that the government implement recommendations of the National Commission on Farmers.
Leaders of the front, including Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh and his TDP counterpart Chandrababu Naidu, reiterated that the minimum support price should take into account the risk factors, cost of production, and 50 per cent of the cost of production.
They were addressing a well-attended Kisan Sammelan on Sunday, 50 km from the Capital organised by the Indian National Lok Dal, headed by former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala, part of the UNPA.
The alliance criticised the Congress-led UPA saying the ruling coalition’s policies on agriculture have let down farmers. Its leaders also announced that a farmers’ rally would be organised in the Capital on February 26 to draw the Parliament’s attention to the plight of farmers.
Samajwadi Party general secretary Amar Singh and former CMs Farooq Abdullah and Babulal Marandi also addressed the rally.
Naidu said the neglect of the Congress had forced many farmers to sell their organs to make ends meet.
“Thousands of farmers are now caught in the debt trap,” the TDP chief said, stressing that facilities like health insurance should be extended to them.
Mulayam said: “We will fight till the recommendations of the commission headed by M.S. Swaminathan are implemented.”
Amar said Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was not giving enough time to his ministry, which was in crisis.
Pawar has been devoting more time to cricket than agriculture, he alleged.
National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah said while the government was willing to pay Rs 1,600 per quintal of wheat to foreign companies, for the country’s own farmers, it was only willing to shell out half the price.