Alleging serious irregularities in the acquisition of their land, farmers agitating against the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor in Karnataka began a two-day dharna here on Wednesday under the leadership of former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) President, H.D.Deve Gowda.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Gowda alleged that the project, which was sanctioned by him in 1995 when he was State Chief Minister, had been distorted by the promoters in collusion with successive Governments and bureaucrats to acquire more land than what was required.

Seeking a fair deal for the farmers, he urged the Central

Central Government to order an enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation to ``unearth the massive scam’’.

Several political party leaders including Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary, Prakash Karat, Communist Party of India General Secretary, A.B.Bardhan, and National Secretary, D.Raja, attended the dharna and expressed their solidarity with Mr. Gowda and the farmers.

Noting that several such agitations by farmers were underway in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country, the leaders contended that the legislation on land acquisition was to be blamed.

Pointing out that the law was enacted during the British rule, the leaders said it should be replaced with a new one that gave a fair deal to farmers and others from whom land was being acquired for various projects.

The other leaders attending the dharna included Telugu Desam Party leader, K.Yeerannaidu, Janata Dal (United) President, Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Lok Dal Chief, Ajit Singh, and Samajwadi Party’s Parliamentary party leader, Brij Bhushan Tiwari.

A delegation of the agitating farmers also called on President, Pratibha Patil and presented a memorandum.

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