Saturday, April 11, 2009

Silent revolution under way In AP: Dr. JP

A silent revolution in favor of the Lok Satta is sweeping Andhra Pradesh now and is gaining momentum hour by hour, said Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.

“But the Lok Satta is handicapped by lack of adequate resources and organizational structure to tap it. The Lok Satta is voicing the agony and anguish of the voiceless and is providing a platform for the common man to stage a constitutional revolt. The people, therefore, have to come forward and act as booth and polling agents and ensure their win in the elections.”

Taking part in a ‘Meet the Press’ program organized by the Andhra Pradesh Working Journalists’ Federation, Dr. JP said in reply to a question that “the Lok Satta is handicapped by the dominant public and media prejudice that none could win an election without spending crores of rupees on buying votes with money and liquor. Secondly, it does not have adequate number of local leaders who have guts and leadership, although the party has the power of ideas. Where it has leaders, the media would not give publicity to them. Thirdly, the media ignored the Lok Satta so much that a visitor to the State would feel that the party is not at all existent in the State. After all, the party’s election campaign budget for the entire State is less than half of what a traditional party candidate spends in one parliamentary constituency.”

Dr. JP said the traditional parties behaved as if the people are ignorant and do not know what is good for them. They believe they can win elections by dividing people on the basis of caste or religion or offering short-term sops. They would like to keep the people in perpetual poverty so that they can continue to be in power indefinitely. In contrast, the Lok Satta believes people are intelligent and wise and have their own hopes and aspirations. They have repeatedly demonstrated that when there is a fight between Dharma and adharma, they always stand by Dharma. Today, the people all over Andhra Pradesh are thirsting to change the rotten and the corrupt political system by voting for the Lok Satta. Neither the people at large nor the media in particular have been able to capture the public mood, Dr. JP said.

The Lok Satta is committed to providing opportunities for growth to every child irrespective of its accident of birth in a particular caste or religion, free and quality health care to all, job-oriented skills and livelihood opportunities to all youth, and social security to one crore of poor people, empower people with the formation of district governments and ensure higher incomes to farmers and people in traditional occupations.

In reply to a question on Prohibition, Dr.JP said the Lok Satta stood for strict restriction of liquor consumption as total Prohibition was not a success anywhere in the world and spawned mafias everywhere. “Do not expect the traditional parties to impose Prohibition or restrict liquor consumption since it will be suicidal for them. They believe that without distributing liquor they cannot win votes and they can take the people for a ride if they remain intoxicated.”

Answering a question on the party’s stand on irrigation projects, Dr. JP said big reservoirs are necessary to capture flood flows in rivers in a country dependent on monsoons. But the Lok Satta would not take up a project like the Pranahita-Chevella which involves a capital cost of Rs.38,500 crore and an annual maintenance expenditure of Rs.50,000 per acre and consume one-third of the total power produced in the State. Once the Polavaram and Pulichintala projects are completed, the Nagarjunasagar waters can be utilized to serve Telangana districts. In addition, small lift irrigation schemes can be taken up on the Godavari and its tributaries. The party favored the constitution of a tribunal to decide on the allocation of river waters among different regions of the State.

On subsidies, Dr. JP said his party did not believe in waiving loans, or providing color TVs or transferring cash to people. It subscribed to providing free and quality education and health care and job-oriented skills all of which entailed subsidy but helped people stand on their own feet, contributed to higher productivity and incomes.

On the black money stashed away by Indians in foreign banks, Dr. JP said if the Government of India provided preliminary evidence that the money had something to do with organized crime or fraud, foreign banks could give information. International protocols now provided for such disclosure and the US Government succeeded in making a Swiss bank part with some details.

Mr. Koteswara Rao, President of the federation, presided.

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