Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Prakash Karat on Wednesday demanded a constitutional amendment to ensure that all international treaties are ratified by Parliament.

Addressing a party rally here, organised in connection with P. Krishna Pillai Day, Mr. Karat said the recent free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN was signed without taking Parliament into confidence and consulting the States. The treaty would affect farmers, especially those in Kerala. Cash crops in the State and domestic industries would be badly affected by the FTA.

“We demand that all such international agreements be ratified by Parliament. The Constitution has to be amended,” he said. The Centre could not take unilateral decisions as the country had a federal set-up.

Mr. Karat said Union Ministers A.K. Antony and Vayalar Ravi were understood to have expressed their objections to the agreement.

The CPI(M) leader called for a strong people’s movement to oppose the neo-liberal economic policies of the Manmohan Singh-led government. The government continued to implement the policies that had widened the social and economic inequalities. It was implementing the policies advocated by the United States.

Food prices had gone up since the Congress-led government came to power three months ago. The agricultural sector had to be strengthened to ensure food security, he said.

Referring to the party’s demand for universal public distribution system, he said the targeted PDS being introduced by the Centre would in no way ensure food security.

It was the duty of the Left parties to take up people’s issues. The Bharatiya Janata Party was in serious crisis in State after State, Mr. Karat said, adding the people had refused to support the communal agenda of that party.

Earlier, at a function at Iritty here, Mr. Karat said a national convention of Left parties would be held in New Delhi on August 26 to chalk out a campaign against the policies of the Central government.

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