The second day of the Left parties dharna on 31st July demanding immediate legislation on food security again witnessed the participation of thousands of people from Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Haryana. The people expressed their anger against the government and their strong resolve and determination by sitting in dharna, braving the incessant rain throughout the day.
The Central leaders of the Left parties who spoke in the dharna highlighted the apathy of the government towards the poor. They criticised the UPA government that was unwilling to spend even a meagre 1 percent of the GDP for ensuring food security to the people and stated that this shows its real concern for aam aadmi. The government, instead of supplying foodgrains to the hungry and malnourished people of our country, is keen on exporting foodgrains where it is used to feed cattle.
They also criticised the government for its failure to provide ration cards to all the needy and its intent on dismantling the entire Public Distribution System (PDS). More than 50 percent of our agricultural labourers, 61 percent of the dalits and 55 percent of the adivasis do not have either the BPL or the Antyodaya cards. This itself means that the majority of the poor in our society are denied access even to that nominal PDS that exists in our country. Instead of strengthening the PDS, the government is bent upon wiping out even the existing structure. This exposes the true character of the Congress party and the UPA government. They called upon the people to join hands and further intensify the struggle for 35 kgs of foodgrains at not more than Rs 2 per family.
Brinda Karat, Polit Bureau member of the CPI(M), Amarjeet Kaur, National Secretary of the CPI, Premachandran, former minister of Kerala and leader of the RSP, Narahari Mahato, Member of Parliament, AIFB addressed the protesters along with the state leaders of the four Left parties. The central leadership of the four Left parties – CPI (M), CPI, AIFB and RSP – were joined by many prominent personalities working in the field of food security. Eminent economist Jean Dreeze, Civil rights activist Binayak Sen and other Right to Food activists extended their support to the protest and addressed the people.