Social activists and political leaders slammed the Union government Friday, alleging it has not implemented a "single major initiative" for farmers in the past four and a half years and that demonetisation worsened the agrarian distress in the country.
Addressing a rally of nearly 3,500 farmers, gathered from across the country in the national capital, Narmada Bachao Andolan activist Medha Patkar alleged the government from the "very beginning has been adopting pro-corporate policies and not a single major initiative for farmers has been launched by it".
"The target of the BJP government is to handover farmers', adivasis' land to industrialists, corporate," Patkar claimed.
Rajaram Singh, general secretary of All India Kisan Mahasabha (AIKM), alleged the government tried to "turn blackmoney into white" through demonetisation.
"Demonetisation's impact falls on farmers across the country," he said, adding that the exercise to suddenly render a bulk of Indian currency in circulation hit farmers, who deal largely in cash, hard and contributed to the agrarian distress.
Samajwadi Party leader Dharmendra Yadav said his party has always worked to strengthen the farmers' movement for better price for their produce.
"We have always been there to support your protests earlier and will continue to do so," he said, adding that farmers should not be undermined and they have the power to "topple the government".
Atul Anjaan, national secretary of All India Kisan Sabha, alleged that the "apathetic attitude" of the Narendra Modi government towards farmers has led to the distress in the agriculture sector and the situation is worsening.
The farmers, who have been camping at the Ramlila ground here since Thursday, began their march to Parliament Street around 10.30 am amid heavy policy deployment.
They were stopped near Parliament Street police station, after which they assembled there.
Over 3,500 police personnel have been deployed on the route of the march. According to a senior police officer, special arrangements have been made in Central and New Delhi police districts.
Banded under the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which claims to be an umbrella body of 207 organisations of farmers and agricultural workers, many farmers arrived in the city on trains, buses and other modes of transport.
(With inputs from agencies.)