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Don't Accept Report on Freeing Sugar: V.K. Singh to PM

Joining a 'Parliament Gherao' agitation by sugarcane farmers, former army chief Gen V K Singh today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to reject the Rangarajan Committee report on freeing sugar.

"No politician has worked for farmers. They get votes from you people by promising many things, but they forget that there is a community called farmers after the elections. Next time when you go to the polling booth, think who will fight for you and then vote only for that person," Gen Singh, who fought a bitter battle with Government on his age issue, said.

However, the former army chief said he was not supporting any particular party but was only asking farmers to keep their "betterment in mind" before pressing the EVM button.

The protesters gathered near the Parliament Street police station, less than a kilometre from Parliament House, and raised slogans demanding that the report be rejected.

Singh favoured the proposal floated by Rashtriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangathan's V M Singh that there was a need to raise a 'Kisan Sena' in the country that would fight for farmers' rights.

He also asked farmers to come on one platform, transcending religion, caste and community in order to reclaim their legitimate rights.

Dubbing as "anti-farmer" the Rangarajan Committee report that has recommended phased decontrol of the highly regulated Rs 80,000-crore sugar industry, he said the Prime Minister and Parliament should not accept the report.

"Everyone knows our Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is a world renowned economist. He is a capable and competent person. We hope he will not accept the report and we appeal to him not to accept the report," he said while warning that a "big revolution" would take place if the Government accepts the report.

The report also suggests removal of levy obligation, a foolproof release mechanism and a uniform, revenue-linked sugarcane price.

Sharing the dais with INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala, the retired General accused the Government of giving away subsidies meant for farmers to mill owners who sell those materials to farmers in black market.

Gen Singh said the recommendations of the Rangarajan Committee would never help farmers and crticised the authors for "writing a report about farmers from an air conditioned room."

He repeatedly asked the farmers to exercise their franchise in the next elections in favour of a person who will keep all the interests of a farmer in mind.

"Think and vote. Vote for a person who is genuinely concerned about farmers. Don't vote for a person who will not be on your side," he told the farmers.

Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed also participated in the protest.

Addressing the protesters, Chautala said he will face lathis and bullets with them in their fight for justice.

Accusing the ruling party of helping only capitalists, Chautala alleged that Congress uses their money to win elections and even buy votes of MPs when in need of vote in Parliament.

"People are very much sad about what is happening in this country. Congress has faith only in capitalists.You have seen during 2008 trust vote how Congress bought MPs to support it," he alleged.

Chautala alleged that farmers were not getting enough power or water but its tariff was being regularly increased.

"What we need is system change not just change in those who rule us," he said.

The organisers said the recommendations of the panel would affect farmers in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.

"The truth is that the Commission has acted only on behalf of the sugar mills and ignored the farmers' interest, whereby farmers who are already in a miserable condition will face more hardships," said V M Singh.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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