Saturday, January 10, 2009

Change of Rules of the Game Needed – Not Merely Players: Dr. JP

Politics of India can be transformed only by changing the rules of the game, not merely change of rules, declared Lok Satta Party’s just reelected President Dr Jayaprakash Narayan. The Party organized internal elections recently to set an example to the political system, and to promote real transformation in India.

(Dr. JP polled 85,612 votes against 10,145 by Mr. DVVS Varma and 4,650 by Mrs. Akula Maharani, his rivals in the presidential race).

Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said the Lok Satta Party has always been humble enough to recognize that it alone cannot usher in new politics or accomplish its goal overnight. There are millions of people who are fed up with the corruption-ridden politics pursued by traditional parties and are thirsting for change. The Lok Satta Party has provided an alternative platform so that all right thinking people can join hands and accomplish transformational change.

“Against such a backdrop, the Lok Satta is not averse to entering into electoral alliances with parties and forces, which are prepared to embrace certain non-negotiable fundamentals. They have to pledge themselves against inducing voters with money and liquor and fielding candidates with criminal background. They should agree to treat citizens with dignity and respect and not as beggars. An agreed common agenda based on education, healthcare, skills for youth and job promotion, rejuvenation of agriculture and traditional occupations, social security to one crore poor families to give dignity to the unorganized workers, district governments, rural infrastructure, citizen empowerment and uncompromising fight against corruption should form the bedrock of any principled political alliance.

“Nobility cannot be restored to politics unless parties view it as a means to serve the public and not to enrich themselves at public cost. Unfortunately, politics has been turned into a family-owned business and the expenditure in elections is viewed as an investment for raking in many times the investment. Transformation cannot be brought about through mere rhetoric. The parties that claim to work for change should practice it in the way they run their parties and field candidates in elections.”

Dr. JP said the Lok Satta has set an example to other parties by holding its elections for leadership from the mandal to the State level through secret ballot. It demonstrated that there is no place for coterie or dynasty rule or the play of money and muscle power in the party. Notwithstanding certain imperfections, the Lok Satta has made a new beginning in organizational elections. It is already reputed for the transparent manner it raises and spends funds.

The Lok Satta is happy that it has been able to transform public discourse through its relentless focus on provision of quality education and healthcare and equal opportunities for growth to all irrespective of their caste and religion. For once even traditional political parties are chanting the new mantra. The Lok Satta is proud that the Election Commission has at long last conceded its decade-old demand for making post office the nodal agency for registration. Its efforts for constitution of village courts to provide speedy justice have fructified with Parliament adopting the Bill. Lok Satta has thus achieved two critical milestones in 2008.

Dr. JP indicated that the Lok Satta would be focusing its attention on the urban educated middle classes who the world over have served as trail blazers of change. In Mumbai, there is a movement to put up credible citizens’ candidates on Lok Satta’s platform in order to give people a genuine opportunity to change the nature of politics, and create new politics for the new generation. As India’s largest city, the nation’s financial capital, and the seat of freedom struggle, Mumbai has a critical role to play in this struggle for Second Freedom to end kleptocracy and to build one India for one people.

Referring to the monumental fraud in Satyam Computers, Dr. JP said the Government should immediately focus its attention on protecting the interests of 50,000 odd Satyam employees and its innumerable clients spread all over the world. The Government of India ought to have appointed a board of management within 24 hours of the scandal coming to light.

Dr. JP demanded that the State Government appoint a team with members of unimpeachable integrity like former RBI Governor Y. Venugopal Reddy and former Union Secretary Dr EAS. Sarma to enquire into Satyam’s fall out on the state, review the projects, worth around Rs.30,000 crore, awarded to Maytas and recommend the future course of action.

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