Saturday, November 28, 2009

Lok Satta debating ways of saving People from manipulation

The three-year-old Lok Satta Party is now deeply immersed in finding out how people should be involved in transformational politics.

The Lok Satta Party came into existence three years ago with a view to cleansing the political system which has failed to eliminate poverty, destitution and ill health and make people stand on their own legs. Over the years, politics has been turned into a lucrative business by certain dynastic families or individuals. They succeed in wooing voters with money and liquor or other inducements, come into power only to abuse it for personal gain.

Although large sections of people are aware that the present-day politics are rotten, they do not come forward to transform the system, going by Lok Satta experience. Viewing the elections as a fight among certain parties or politicians, the voters by and large remain indifferent or play only a peripheral role of casting their vote on the polling day.

What is tragic is that people do not realize that they are the main players in the democratic process and not parties and politicians. Instead of playing the central role since they are the prime agents of change, they become pawns in the hands of traditional parties either wittingly or unwittingly.

Pointing out that unless people take matters into their hand and choose to act, the status quo can never be changed, the Lok Satta leaders Mr.YD Rama Rao, V.Laxman Balaji, Panduranga Rao, Mrs. Saroja Devi told media today. They recalled what Abraham Lincoln said more than a century ago, “Public opinion or sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.”

The Lok Satta leaders point out that perhaps people by and large are vulnerable to manipulation because of their innocence and gullibility since times immemorial. Otherwise, would Jesus Christ have been crucified? When Jesus was arrested and threatened with execution for blasphemy, his captors led by Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, offered to spare him if enough people called for his release. On that day, Jesus and another prisoner, Barrabas, were due to be killed. Pilate’s wife asked him to spare Jesus, who was innocent. But the religious elders and priests, who hated Jesus because he undermined their authority, persuaded the mass of people to call for Barrabas to be spared instead. When the crowd was asked what should be done with Jesus, they shouted, “Crucify him.” Pilate believed the execution of Jesus was wrong. Since it was the will of the people, he publicly washed his hands to show that he took no responsibility.

Again, there are people of talent, integrity and competence in all walks of life who thirst for dramatic changes in the political system. But they remain dreamers on the sidelines, since they are not inclined to take any responsibility to change the system by devoting a portion of their time, energy and resources.

The Lok Satta leaders say they are not disheartened by the poor performance in the GHMC elections since victory in an election is merely a means to transform politics and not en end in itself.

The Lok Satta even to this day subscribes to the philosophy that the country can be rid of poverty, destitution and ill health only if new politics are ushered in and people are empowered. The Lok Satta has never nurtured the illusion that it alone can transform politics. It, therefore, is now debating how best it can associate common people and the elite on the sidelines with its mission.

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