Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Saturday criticised the United Progressive Alliance government for citing lack of funds and resources for implementing the welfare programmes, particularly those relating to the farm sector.

He advised the Opposition parties not to let the Congress or the Centre get away with the excuse of lack of funds. The Centre and the State governments possessed sufficient funds and resources but these were being siphoned off due to ‘large scale corruption.'

Mr. Karat was speaking after calling on Telugu Desam president N. Chandrababu Naidu, who has been on an indefinite fast here since Friday in support of farmers' demands. Janata Dal (S) president H.D. Deve Gowda, also met Mr. Naidu.

The CPI (M) leader said the 2G spectrum scam that caused an estimated loss of Rs. 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer was one such instance of corruption. This money should have gone into public investment in agriculture, rural development and universalisation of the Public Distribution System.

Mr. Karat expressed concern that farmers were unable to take up agriculture as it was no more remunerative. The calamity that struck the farmers in Andhra Pradesh had made the crisis more acute and worsened the farmers' suffering.

He called upon like-minded parties to join hands to form a national movement to render justice to farmers and compel the government to concede their just demands. Pressure should be mounted to ensure that policies giving due priority to farmers were pursued and the country became self-sufficient in foodgrain production.

“Distressing spectacle”

Mr. Karat said it was unfortunate that the Congress government's failure to respond to the farmers' plight had led to a “distressing spectacle” wherein 42 farmers had either died of heart attack or committed suicide.

Describing Mr. Naidu's fast as an important chapter in the struggles to be launched to mount pressure on the Centre, he said, the CPI (M) would take up the Andhra Pradesh farmers' plight as a national issue.