In a bid to mobilize support to the Lok Saatta Party, a large number of leaders belonging to BC, SC, ST, minority and weaker sections are organizing ‘social justice’ regional conventions all over the State.
This was announced at a media conference here today by Katari Srinivsasa Rao, Akurati Muralikrishna, Eeda Chennaiah, Jupalli Satyanarayana, Allahbakash, Mrs. A. Maharani, all leaders belonging to downtrodden classes.
The leaders told the media that the Lok Satta is the only party which is genuinely committed to ensuring justice to weaker sections. The Lok Satta Party practices what it professes, they said by pointing out that in the recent organizational elections 12 of the elected district party presidents are from backward classes. Twenty-one of the 36 candidates named by the party as its candidates for contesting the ensuing Assembly elections are from downtrodden sections.
The leaders said that the Lok Satta conducted its party elections by secret ballot and provided an opportunity for anybody to occupy positions of power. In stark contrast to other parties, it did not look into the pedigree, caste or religion of the candidates. In fact, the party’s constitution provided for representation within the party to all sections considering their share in the population.
The Lok Satta alone has offered to provide quality education and health care and provision of job-oriented skills to all irrespective of their caste and religion, region and language. It is committed to making agriculture and traditional occupations remunerative.
The Lok Satta leaders recalled that the traditional parties had not allowed members belonging to a large number of downtrodden castes to step into legislature portals. Only seven percent of children from downtrodden castes completed high school education. But both the Congress and the Telugu Desam claimed they had already rendered them justice.
The leaders said that representation to a few sons or daughters of rich backward class families did not constitute social justice. Backward class people can come up in life only when they enjoy proportional representation in all elected offices and their children have equal opportunities to realize their potential.
It is to propagate this message that the leaders are planning regional conventions. The following is the schedule:
February 10: Visakhapatnam (Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam dts.)
February 12: Vijayawada (Krishna, Guntur, Khammam, East Godavari, Prakasam dts.)
February 14: Tirupati (Chittoor, Nellore, Kadapa, Kurnool, Anandtapur dts.)
February 16: Warangal (Hyderabad, Rangareddy, Mahbubnagar, Medak, Nalgonda dts.)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Friday, January 30, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today counseled movie star Balakrishna, now campaigning on behalf of the Telugu Desam Party, to seek people’s support for his party by presenting an agenda and not by touting the name of his father, late Chief Minister N. T. Rama Rao.
Talking to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder took exception to Balakrishna seeking votes as movie actor NTR’s son and reeling off the names of movies in which his father had acted, even as he made an elected people’s representative kneel on the floor. “By word and deed, Balakrishna is perpetuating dynastic tendencies and deification of personalities which have no place in a democracy.”
The Lok Satta pointed out that with jugglery of words Balakrishna tried to conceal the fact that people owed their miseries to TDP’s 17-year misrule. He had not unveiled any agenda for change. Asking him to campaign democratically, the Lok Satta leaders advised him to enlist people’s support by coming up with schemes, which would prudently and productively utilize money contributed by people by way of taxes.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today wanted leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to disclose full facts concerning Heritage Foods’ deals and dispel people’s apprehensions over their legitimacy.
Referring to the controversy kicked off by the expose in Telugu daily ‘Sakshi’, the Lok Satta party said that the Heritage Foods’ promoters who include Mr. Chandrababu Naidu’s family should remember that a Ceaser’s wife should be above suspicion.
Briefing the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member Laxman Balaji said that regulatory agencies like SEBI should look into allegations of malfeasance and take appropriate action since Heritage Foods is a listed company. But that should not detract the promoters’ family from taking the public into confidence without taking shelter behind a technical and legal facade.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today demanded that the Government publish the CBI report on irregularities in the execution of the Outer Ring Road project in the context of news reports that it had consigned the CBI report and its recommendations to the wastepaper basket.
Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder told the media that the Government has so far refused to part with the report in response to the Lok Satta’s request for it under the Right to Information Act. They recalled that the Government had ordered the CBI inquiry following an uproar in the State over allegations of irregularities committed by officials and politicians. The leaders noted that the studied silence of the Telugu Desam Party, which had sought a CBI inquiry, was strange.
The Lok Satta Party demanded that the CBI be immunized from political pressures. The UPA Government had sought to reopen the disproportionate assets case against UP Chief Minister Mayawati and bury the ones against Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav to punish the former and reward the later for opposing and supporting the Government in the confidence vote on the nuclear deal. Now the CPM was trying to stall CBI prosecution of its Kerala leader Pinarayi Vijayan in a corruption case. The Lok Satta said that the CBI should be shielded from attempts by political parties to influence its working.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
The Godavari delta farmers are undergoing a crisis because of the Irrigation Department’s failure to ensure timely water supply for the second crop. While it is a fact that the inflows into the reservoirs have been inadequate, the authorities have failed to ensure equitable distribution of the available water.
Talking to the media, party Working Committee members Bandaru Ramamohan Rao and Laxman Balaji said the water supply was initially delayed in the name of delta modernization works. When water was finally released, the department could not ensure judicious use of water by farmers in the upper reaches. Overtaken by a psychosis of continuing scarcity, farmers started using more water than warranted. The surreptitious release of water to benefit aqua farmers in connivance with officials aggravated the problem. The silting in the upstream of the barrage too contributed to the problem.
The Lok Satta demanded that the Government educate farmers on water management practices and punish the guilty so that the problem does not recur in the next season.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today called upon people to rededicate themselves to building a people-centered political system, the real objective behind forming a republic, by uprooting dynastic and monarchic rule. “Although the Constitution begins with the words ‘We the people of India,’ the real people enjoyed no powers as a few individuals or coteries monopolized all powers. As a result, the future of any child depended on the caste or the family in which it is born.
Addressing a meeting after unveiling the national flag at the party headquarters, Dr. JP said that the architects of Indian Independence unified India geographically for the first time in 5,000 years by integrating 500 princely States into the Indian Union in 250 days. But afraid of Hindu-Muslim rivalries and other narrow loyalties sapping the country’s unity, they sculpted India as a unitary and centralized State. Had they displayed a little more vision and patience, and formed India as a federation and empowered people by opting for strong local governments, India would have witnessed a thousand flowers in the shape of leaders blooming.
Dr. JP warned that the history that prevailed during the partition of the country would repeat itself if the people are not entrusted with powers to carve out their destiny. The Lok Satta, which has been striving for the last 12 years to empower people, would not rest until it achieves it goal undeterred by obstacles in the way. By conducting organizational elections through secret ballot, ensuring proportional representation to various sections in the party organization and forming district governments, the party has made some progress in accomplishing its goals.
“But history cannot be changed overnight. The road is long and arduous, more so for a party like the Lok Satta in the prevailing complex political situation. We should be prepared for a long-term struggle to build a society, which does not discriminate any child on the basis of its birth in a particular caste or religion or family and allow it to realize its true potential.”
“ A silent majority of voters- particularly the Youth, middle class, the women who are paying a heavy price in an unequal society, and the poor who are deprived of dignity and opportunity are seething with anger. Our republic has been stolen. Lok Satta has a historic role in mobilizing them and make the constitutional values real and tangible. The coming elections provide us a wonderful opportunity to lay the foundation of new politics for a new generation of Indians. All of India is ready for transformation. Andhra Pradesh will pave the way in 2009 for building a new India in which every child will fulfil her potential, no one will suffer from preventable causes, and all people enjoy dignity, opportunity and justice.”
Dr. JP appealed all citizens stand united, break their silence, and fight against injustice, brutality, corruption, poverty, prejudice and narrow divisions undermining our nationhood.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
The Yuva Satta today appealed to the Chief Election Commissioner not to discontinue the ‘yuva tarang’ program meant to enroll college students as voters.
The President of the State Yuva Satta, Mr. Dasari Ratnam, and the President of the Greater Hyderabad unit, Mr. Ravinder Reddy told the media that the response to the enrolment campaign undertaken by some voluntary agencies in colleges was very good, according to the feedback they received. “On the spot issuance of voters’ identity cards based on principals’ attestation is highly commendable.”
The Yuva Satta leaders pointed out that if the youth were to take part in elections and strengthen democracy, such innovative enrolment programs are highly desirable. Of late, the youth are shedding their revulsion against politics in a bid to contribute their mite in changing the present political system.
They appealed to the CEO to publicize the continuous voter enrolment program since many people are not aware of it. All those who register themselves as voters until the completion of the nomination process should be enabled to exercise their franchise.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Formation of district governments will be a potent antidote to regional disparities and animosities, declared Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today.
Just as the Congress Party declared ‘purna swaraj’ on January 26, 1930, the Lok Satta today declared the formation of district governments all over the State and pledged itself not to rest until the goal is realized. Today happens to be the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, who had served as Calcutta Commissioner – the first to be chosen from among citizens -- and as an elected Mayor.
Addressing a meeting held at Kukatpally to mark the Ranga Reddy district government formation and declaration, Dr. JP said entrusting the administration of a district to an official like the collector is nothing but a travesty of democracy because many districts in Andhra Pradesh are bigger than half the countries in the world. Mr. BPR Vithal, Prof. K. Nageswar, Mr. Solitipeta Ramachandra Reddy, Mr. Uppala Gopala Rao, Ms. Maligireddy Sudha and Party leaders Mr. DVVS Varma, C. Narasimha Rao, B. Rammohana Rao, B. Krishna Reddy, Srinivasan, N. Ravinder also participated in the function.
Dr. JP recalled that the 73rd and 74th amendments were enacted to strengthen the third tier of government in the belief that citizens’ affairs should be handled from a local government closest to them. Matters calling for economies of scale and managerial expertise are to be left to be handled by State and Central governments.
“Unfortunately we have inverted the logic behind this philosophy and turned local governments impotent and State and Central governments all powerful. Once people have no control over their destiny, the link between their vote and public good snaps and the vote becomes a purchasable commodity.
“The system resulted in a centralized bureaucracy which remains unresponsive and unaccountable, and lead to collapse of public services, neglect of vital sectors like education, health, agricultural extension and social welfare, and accentuation of regional disparities and animosities. A solution lies in unveiling fully empowered and adequately funded elected local governments driven by purposive and competent leaders.”
The Lok Satta President said the concept of district governments comprises five elements.
- A directly elected premier for a district with full and effective control over bureaucracy
- Adequate devolution of resources and powers to legislate, regulate and execute in all matters under their charge. District governments will have jurisdiction over all other local governments both in rural and urban areas. The primary tier of government – the panchayat/municipality – will be entrusted with the provision of all basic services and amenities. Panchayat will have direct power and responsibility to provide quality drinking water, eradicate public defecation and eliminate belt shops and illicit distillation.
- Apart from normal funding, wards and divisions in panchayats and municipalities will get a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to address local needs (A village with a population of say 5,000 will get an annual grant of Rs.50 lakh). People will be guaranteed safe drinking water, a toilet for every household, all-weather roads and public transport, and 24-hour quality power supply in every village.
- There will be decentralization and convergence of all services and agencies. Local mobile courts in each mandal, access to land records and birth certificates in each panchayats, voter registration through post offices, integration of revenue and development functions, farmers’ control of local markets, agri-clinics in each village – all these and other measures will be integral to district governments.
- 1000 small towns will be built at a cost of Rs 40,000 crores to provide urban amenities close to village, and create employment to 50 lakh youth.
The districts are cabinets being formed in each district with experts and prominent citizens and activities in each district. These district cabinets would function as shadow cabinets and promote public awareness, study local problems, identify solutions and work with local public agencies to implement them.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Mr. D. V. S. Varma was elected Secretary of the Greater Hyderabad Lok Satta unit here today. The following are the other office-bearers: Vice-Presidents: Akula Maharani and M. Jaswant Reddy, and Joint Secretaries: J. Krishna Rao, P. Venkat Reddy and B. Alla Bakshi.
The elections, by secret ballot, were keenly contested. The general council of the party comprising presidents and secretaries of divisional units and members of constituency committees elected the office-bearers.
Mr. P. S. Bhagavanlu and Mr. Krishna Reddy conducted the election.
The Lok Satta Party said today that the number of school dropouts in Andhra Pradesh has gone up because of Government’s attempts to withdraw from the field and encourage the private sector.
“The Government is guilty of criminal negligence”, charged Lok Satta Party’s Organizational Affairs Convener B. Ramamohana Rao and Working Committee member Laxman Balaji referring to the increase in the percentage of dropouts from 5.42 to 6.88. Pointing out that education played a key role in eradicating poverty and discrimination based on caste and religion, they demanded that education be made the center point of politics.
The Lok Satta leaders recalled that the Government had been engaged in shutting down schools in the public sector and encouraged private schools and turned education into a lucrative business proposition. Even common and middle class people are forced to send their children to private schools as the state of affairs in Government schools is miserable. Accentuating the problem, the Government was watered down the midday meal scheme which acted as a magnate for children from poor and downtrodden classes. The Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out that Andhra Pradesh failed to utilize the funds allocated for the scheme.
The Lok Satta leaders wanted the Government to ensure classes took place in one campus and the midday meal scheme is effectively implemented.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Lok Satta Party will be unveiling district governments on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhashchandra Bose, who had served as Calcutta Mayor and underlined the importance of local governments.
Disclosing this to the media here today, party Working Committee members Laxman Balaji and V. Vijayender Reddy said that on that day the party would organize a function at district headquarters and announce a district cabinet comprising a premier and 11 ministers. Apart from hoisting the national and the district flag, the district units of the party will be releasing a booklet dealing with district development and screening a film on district government.
“The Lok Satta party feels that as the entire country has a national government and the State, a state government, a district too should have its own government. Many of the districts in Andhra Pradesh are bigger than 80 countries in the world. Therefore, there is no reason why a district should not have its own government.
“As per the Lok Satta plan, the State government will devolve 50 percent of its resources on district governments and also make a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to villages and towns.”
The cabinet being formed by the Lok Satta will take up people’s problems relating to education, health, housing and other facilities and try to address them at the district level.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will take part in the unveiling of the Ranga Reddy district government at a function to he held at Ramya Grounds in KPHB Phase III on the evening of January 23.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today pledged its total support to Dr. K. Nageswar, who is contesting the election to the Legislative Council again from the graduates' constituency of Hyderabad, Rangareddy and Mahbubnagar districts.
Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder told the media the party had taken the decision in response to a request from Dr. Nageswar.
The Lok Satta Party leaders said that Dr. Nageswar had the distinction of pinning down the Government in the Legislative Council on its anti-people and authoritarian policies. He analyzed every issue objectively and presented his viewpoint without indulging in personal criticism. The presence of people like Dr. Nagewar in the Legislative Council would restore dignity to the profession of politics, they added.
Monday, January 19, 2009
On the eve of Barack Obama assuming office as U.S. President, the Lok Satta Party today called upon political parties and people to embrace change as their agenda in the 2009 elections. That is the real tribute we can pay to the man who has made history in contemporary politics, party Working Committee members Laxman Balaji and Mrs. K. Geeta Murthy told the media today.
The Lok Satta Party regretted that political parties indulged in mutual recrimination instead of educating the public about their agenda and earning their confidence. They would like to come to power by relying on dynastic principles or squandering money so that they could loot money meant for public welfare. It was time the State was liberated from such an evil political culture, said the leaders.
The Lok Satta refuted the Chief Minister’s contention that the Government had nothing to do with the Satyam fraud and it was not an election issue. Although the management was to shoulder blame for the fraud, the Government could not wish away the fact that it had allocated many projects to Satyam’s sister concern Maytas without thoroughly evaluating its credentials.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today appealed to downtrodden sections to plunge into the Lok Satta Party and take the reins of leadership to usher in a new political order.
“The Lok Satta firmly believes that democracy is not real and meaningful if it does not provide for representation to all sections and castes in elected offices. The leadership is not the monopoly of any caste or section. There are men and women of intelligence, competence and integrity among disadvantaged sections -- SCs, STs and BCs. But they simply cannot fight the elections at a time traditional parties are prepared to spend crores of rupees even in an MPTC or ZPTC election, not to mention elections to the Assembly or the Lok Sabha.”
“The new politics that the Lok Satta is promoting has three critical planks – opportunities to all without discrimination on grounds of caste, family and birth; clean and honest politics as a moral endeavor; and fair representation for all.”
Dr. JP said the Lok Satta is prepared to give opportunities to people with leadership qualities from among downtrodden sections to contest elections without looking into their caste or creed or family. “There is no ceiling on the number of candidates the Lok Satta is ready to field so long as they have the leadership mettle.”
Dr. JP was addressing a media conference on the occasion of some of the BC, SC and rationalist leaders joining the Lok Satta.
Dr. JP declared that the Lok Satta’s goal is eradication of caste as a determinant of a child’s future within 10 years. “The pernicious practice of marking a person by birth and subjecting him or her to discrimination and disadvantage must end today and now”, he said.
Dr. JP disclosed that the Lok Satta would take up a campaign for the introduction of proportional representation in place of the present ‘first-past-the-post” system once the 2009 elections are over so that all sections of people can have a say in politics.
Mr. Akurati Muralikrishna, State Convener, BC Forum, said that more than 100 of the 116 backward castes had never stepped into the Assembly portals for the last 60 years, although they account for 65 percent of the State’s population. “Parties chanting the social justice mantra have merely hijacked the portraits of Dr. Ambedkar and Phule but not his ideas. The traditional parties fielded either contractors or businessmen or criminals and rowdies as their candidates in elections while sane people kept off the polling booth out of despair over the state of political affairs. The depressed sections, wiser from their experience, have now come to the conclusion that a solution to their problems lay only in politics, as contended by Dr. Ambedkar. The Lok Satta is the only party that provided them the right platform for the poor by its commitment to build a society in which every one irrespective of one’s birth in a particular caste or religion enjoyed equal opportunities for growth.”
Mr. I. Rama Murthy said that a new breeze is blowing in Andhra Pradesh politics with the weaker sections ready to take on the traditional parties which have cheated them with their vote bank politics, by joining the Lok Satta Party. Mr. Vijaya Singh, Convener, Dalita Bahujana Maha Sabha, said people from weaker sections now have started realizing that the Lok Satta is committed to building an egalitarian society, and its agenda is not limited to fighting corruption..
The following leaders joined the Lok Satta Party today: Messrs
Akurati Muralikrishna, State Convener, BC Forum
Jupally Satyanarayana, State President, Rajaka Sangham
J. Harikrishna, State President, Suryavamsa Sankshema Seva Samiti
Teegala Parthasarathi Prasad, General Secretary, Surya Balija Sangham
Upendra, State Convener, B. C. Yuvajana Forum
Vijaya Singh, Convener, Dalita Bahujana Maha Sabha
Valluru Srinivasa Rao, Upasaka, Bouddha Mahasabha
Friday, January 16, 2009
A large number of backward caste leaders and members are planning to join the Lok Satta Party in a day or two.
Disclosing this at a media conference, party spokesman Katari Srinivsa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder said that having been fed with up traditional politics, these BC leaders now feel that the Lok Satta alone will render them justice.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that although there are many leaders of competence and integrity among BCs, they have not received due recognition in politics. Their failure to get adequate representation legislative bodies saps their confidence in democracy itself.
The Lok Satta, the leaders said, is committed to fielding BCs in election in proportion to their population provided adequate number of people with leadership qualities apply.
The Lok Satta Party believes that reservations for downtrodden sections should be continued for the time being even as the creamy layer from it should be excluded. The percentage of reservations should under no circumstances be increased, as per Supreme Court directives. At the same time, both the urban and rural poor should be awarded 10 percent bonus marks in competitive examinations so that they can compete on par with their richer counterparts both in higher education and employment. All students, irrespective of their caste and religion, should be provided quality and free education in the English medium and including computer studies up to Class XII. Then every one without reference to his or her caste or religion, will get opportunities for growth. Caste will lose relevance in one generation if the Lok Satta formula is adopted, said the leaders.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Dr.JP and Prathibha Rao to Inaugurate Jubilee Hills Lok Satta Party office on 16th Jan
Lok Satta Party after declaring the names of 36 candidates in its first list for the assembly poll(to be held in April 2009), is coming up with its campaining strategies and establishing party offices in the respective constituencies. As part of this effort,Lok Satta Party office will be started in Jubilee Hills constituency, Hyderabad.
Mrs. Prathiba Roa, Lok Satta Party’s MLA candidate for Jubilee Hills informed the media that the Lok Satta Party office in Jubilee Hills will be inaugaurated by Dr.JP at 5 pm on 16th Jan. She Warmly Welcomed all the Party Members and Citizen’s to attend the Inauguration.
Date & Time : 16-01-2009, Evening 5 PM
Plot No 1040/A,Road No. 52,
Dr.B.R.Ambedkar University Road,
Phone No: 04023553824, 9701211288
A team of world-renowned researchers and experts in politics is planning to study the Lok Satta Party's campaign for new politics in AP. This study would be conducted jointly by the experts from Poverty Action Lab – MIT – Harvard University. The team will be conducting an independent and objective study on the nature and conduct of the Lok Satta Party's election campaign. In particular, the team would be studying the progress of Lok Satta Party's clean politics campaign being conducted in an atmosphere of money-and-muscle power, narrow and divisive politics and the heights of 'freebies' populism.
This is a part of their efforts to document, analyze and preserve for future generations, the unique efforts and impact of Lok Satta Party in transforming the nature of the world's largest democracy.
Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao and N. Ravinder gave this information to media today. The study will be conducted by Dr. Rohini Pande, Dr. Abhijit Bannerjee, Mr. Thomas Bossuroy and Mr. Felix Su. Dr. Rohini Pande is the Mohamed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Dr. Abhijit Bannerjee is a Ford Foundation International Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Thomas heads the Abdul Latif Jameel – Poverty Action Lab, South Asia and Felix Su is a research graduate from the MIT.
While noting the clear difference between LSP and other, established parties in their political culture and agenda for governance, the team of experts has expressed particular interest in Lok Satta Party's 'Second Freedom Struggle to establish New Political Culture in India, starting with Andhra Pradesh.'
Interestingly, during the First Freedom Struggle before India's independence, teams of reporters and researchers from the UK, USA, etc. closely tracked, reported upon and researched into the various campaigns led by the then national leaders. For instance, the New York Times carried almost daily reports on the Salt Satyagraha led by Mahatma Gandhi.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
The Lok Satta Party will fight the ensuing general elections on the agenda of poverty eradication, corruption-free politics and justice to all sections in society.
The Core Committee of the party, which met here today with Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan in the chair, felt that the task before the party was translating its credibility into votes. "Its 50 irrevocable guarantees and internal democratic elections by secret ballot have become the talk of the day."
Briefing the media on the meeting, party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and P. Ravi Maruth said the Core Committee had decided to render justice to downtrodden sections in elections by fielding them in large numbers. "If candidates with the qualities of competence, leadership and integrity are available, the party is prepared to field them even in excess of their community’s share in the population."
The Core Committee welcomed Praja Rajyam President’s declaration against distribution of money and liquor in elections.
Monday, January 12, 2009
The question is not one of winning or losing a few seats in the coming elections; it is about changing the very trajectory of Indian politics and creating history, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said here today.
Addressing a meeting of the party’s State Working Committee and the newly elected district presidents, Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta which is the only force pursuing moral politics cannot jettison its principles and enter into unholy alliances for short-term electoral gains.
Dr. JP graphically depicted how all the traditional parties are getting ready to spend unprecedented amounts of money to get elected somehow or the other in the coming general elections in Andhra Pradesh. The shape of things to come could be visualized from the fortunes spent in the recent ZPTC and MPTC by-elections in Andhra Pradesh and general elections in Karnataka..
Dr. JP said that the Andhra Pradesh Government is expected to spend a total of Rs.600,000 crore in the next five years . If we assume that three crore of people will exercise their franchise, the amount the Government plans to spend works out to Rs.200,000 per voter over five years. This Rs.200,000 is the value of each vote cast in Andhra Pradesh. It is to lord over the amount and siphon it that the political parties are leaving no stone unturned to get into office by hook or crook.
The Lok Satta cannot, therefore, blur the greater picture of the stakes involved and enter into opportunistic electoral alliances. The Lok Satta is not opposed to alliances per se but an alliance without agreement on certain fundamental issues like putting an end to the use of money and liquor to induce voters and the practice of fielding criminal elements as candidates will not serve the national cause.
The colossal fraud in Satyam Computers has become the talk of the town all over the country. But unfortunately people have not focused their attention on the bigger fraud political parties are committing by raising and spending colossal amounts of black money to fight elections. The Lok Satta is, therefore, concerned about fighting such political culture. Unless other parties are prepared to join hands in the historic fight against such corruption-ridden politics, the Lok Satta cannot countenance an alliance.
“History will judge us not merely by short-term gains, but by the change in the nature of politics we bring about in India. The political failure of established parties will lead to disaster for the nation. Unless the second freedom struggle is won by the people,p there is a danger of anarchy and disintegration thanks to the ‘me-first’, ‘after-me-the-deluge’ and ‘get-rich-quick’ politics practiced today.
The Lok Satta, he said, has become the lone torch-bearer of new politics in the country. Some of the prominent people of Mumbai are ready to fight on behalf of the party in the coming elections. The fight is not confined to Andhra Pradesh.
The Working Committee constituted a committee to constantly review the developing political situation and take appropriate decisions.
Dr. JP announced that the Lok Satta will be declaring ‘district governments’ at public meetings in all the 23 district headquarters of the State on January 23, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.
On that day, district Cabinets comprising prominent citizens who are knowledgeable and experienced in different walks of life will be announced, the district flag unfurled, a booklet on district governments released and a film on district Governments screened.
The just democratically elected Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan was flooded with calls when he conducted a 14-hour non-stop phone-in program from the party headquarters here on Sunday.
The callers from all over Andhra Pradesh and a few from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru and the U. S. and the U. K. congratulated the Lok Satta on its efforts to transform political culture and pledged their support.
The callers wanted the Lok Satta to think twice before entering into an alliance with any political party. They suggested that it should not enter into an alliance for the sake of winning a few seats. Policy-based, limited alliances could, however, be considered.
More than 1200 people had dialed the Lok Satta headquarters to speak to Dr. JP. He responded patiently to 300 people, explaining the party’s policies and welcoming their suggestions.
The State Working Committee of the Lok Satta would be meeting tomorrow to discuss the party’s program to unveil district governments on January 23. The meeting, to be attended by the newly elected district presidents also, would evaluate the latest political situation in the State and the prospects of the party fielding its candidates in the general elections in Maharashtra.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
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.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Mr. Nandipeta Ravinder was today declared elected President of the Greater Hyderabad Lok Satta unit with a majority of 1262 votes over his rival. The election took place on January 4 and the counting today.
Mr. V. Ramachandraiah, Chairman, and other members of the Lok Satta Party’s Election Authority declared the results of the internal party elections, which took place between January 4 and 7. It is for the first time that a party’s leaders have been chosen in voting by secret ballot. The result of the election to the post of the State party President will be declared tomorrow, as the counting was still in progress.
The counting of votes in the election to the posts of the State President and the Greater Hyderabad unit took place in the party headquarters.
The following were elected district unit Presidents in the keenly contested elections (with their majority given in brackets:
Srikakulam: K. Poli Naidu (Majority-957)
Vizianagaram: Bhisetty Babji (Majority-793)
Visakhapatnam City: Sivakumar (Majority-902)
East Godavari: Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (Majority-2910)
West Godavari: G. Janaki Ramaraju (Majority-836)
Ananatapur: Srinath (Majority-777)
Nizamabad: Jameel Syber (Majority-8,102)
Warangal: S. Venkata Raju (Majority-1304)
The following were elected district unit Presidents unanimously:
Visakhapatnam Rural: K. V. Suresh Kumar
Kurnool: R. Narasimhulu
Guntur: Umamaheswar Reddy
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Welcoming Praja Rajyam President Chiranjeevi's declaration that his party would ban unauthorized liquor shops (belt shops) if elected to power, the Lok Satta Party today asked him to go one step further and pledge against inducing voters with liquor.
Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder asked Mr. Chiranjeevi to recognize that belt shops had proliferated because the Government viewed liquor as an important source of revenue.
Talking to the media, the Lok Satta leaders said the Praja Rajyam Party should, therefore, focus on changes in the liquor policy as well. They recalled the Lok Satta Party had for the last 18 months been agitating against the liquor menace, which is next only to corruption in playing havoc with people's lives.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded a thorough investigation by all regulatory agencies into the monumental accounting fraud in Satyam Computers and stringent punishment of all the guilty.
In a statement, Dr. JP pointed out that the colossal failure of the internationally reputed auditing firm PwC in the Satyam case reminded one of the role of Arthur Andersen in the Enron case and undermined people’s faith in corporate governance.
"It is possible that other corporate bodies too may have been resorting to accounting jugglery. It is high time that the Government and regulatory agencies thoroughly reviewed the accounting practices of all big corporate entities in the next few weeks and plugged all loopholes. An exercise on a war-footing is necessary to restore public confidence in Indian corporate governance both nationally and globally."
Dr. JP said that people, who forgot that real wealth creation lay in the production of goods and services fomented speculative bubbles in sectors like the stock market and the real estate. In the process, innocent people lost their all in chasing the mirages created by manipulators.
Dr. JP said that the quest for prominence and fear of losing power or position or influence made people resort to unethical practices and commit monumental blunders both in the corporate world and pubic life in general. A big corporate firm like Satyam had sought to maintain the illusion of profits instead of accepting and confronting the realities honestly. "It is a classic case of hubris and tragedy that overtakes when appearances become more important than realities."
Dr. JP said: "The one message that comes out loud and clear from the Satyam episode is that there is no point in shutting our eyes to realities. Despite the universal knowledge that corruption and malpractices have become integral to our public life we are feigning surprise each time something surfaces and after appropriate initial shock and horror, we forget about them. The real sufferers of our refusal or unwillingness to take note of the decay at the core are the poor and the marginal sections. We have to take stock of our failings collectively, acknowledge them honestly and address them swiftly and decisively."
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Government of India decision to introduce the National Urban Health Mission on the lines of the National Rural Health Mission, although belatedly. Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, as a member of the National Advisory Council, had played a pivotal role in conceiving and drafting the scheme.
Lok Satta Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member Laxman Balaji told the media that nearly 80 percent of migrants to urban areas led miserable lives and as a result fell prey to ill health. About 3.7 percent of people slipped into poverty every year as they incurred debt at to meet medical expenses. About 60 percent of urban children went without immunization in their first year. Youngsters remained weaklings. The proliferation of slums contributed to the outbreak of diseases affecting everybody. The introduction of the NUHM is, therefore, welcome against such a backdrop, the Lok Satta leaders remarked.
The Lok Satta leaders wanted the Government to focus on prevention of disease and provision of primary care. Formation of ward committees with resources and powers to implement and oversee all schemes concerning health care and sanitation would go a long way in curbing corruption and faster delivery of health services.
The Lok Satta Party today accused the State Government of having badly let down cotton farmers by not counselling them against going in for cotton because of the likely glut, supplying poor quality BT seed and by not ensuring purchase of the produce at a remunerative price.
The yield went down because of inferior seed and unseasonable rain even as the farmers had to spend more on pesticide as the crop was vulnerable to pests. At a time the cotton farmer was in distress, the Cotton Corporation of India had stopped purchases on the ground its warehouses were overflowing in the wake of the fall in exports and left the farmers to the mercy of private traders. On top of it the banks deducted farmers’ loan dues from out of the delayed CCI cheque payments.
Talking to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and State Working Committee member Laxman Balaji demanded that the State Government immediately intervene, ensure that the CCI resumed purchases and render justice to farmers. A permanent solution to such problems lies in starting agri-clinics which will guide farmers from the time of sowing to the marketing of produce and ensure supply of quality inputs.
Friday, January 2, 2009
All LSP members who are living outside Andhra Pradesh can now participate in LSP's historic internal elections process.
If you have registered yourself as a member at www.loksatta.org, then you can cast your vote! All you need to do is send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org ID clearly choosing your 1st, 2nd and 3rd preferences for the Party State President office. The contesting candidates are: Ms. Akula Maharani, DVVS Varma and Dr. N. Jayaprakash Narayan. A copy of the ballot paper is given here.
Note: your vote emailed to us will be counted only after the Electoral Authority verifies the genuineness of your vote and membership. So, please do not forget to mention your name, complete contact details and LSP membership related information in your email-vote! (You can register as a member by visiting www.loksatta.org)
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Mr. Upendra Varma, retired IPS officer of the rank of Director General of Police, Kerala, today joined the Lok Satta Party in the presence of party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.
A Master of Arts in Political Science and Master of Business Administration, Mr. Varma joined the IPS in 1971 and retired in October 2008 as Director, Institute of Management in Government Kerala.
During his 17 years of service in Kerala, he served as Director General, Vigilance, and Anti Corruption Bureau. On deputation to Delhi for about 17 years, he had served as Assistant Director in the Enforcement Directorate and Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat.
Mr. Varma has come forward to invest his time and effort in strengthening the Lok Satta Party which is striving to usher in new political culture. Lok Satta’s goals are national, and Andhra Pradesh is the starting points for political transformation. Mr. Varma joined the movement in keeping with this spirit. He is also willing to give substantial time to Andhra Pradesh in the run up to 2009 elections.
Lok Satta in deeply committed to one India – one citizenship concept. We need to create an inclusive India giving space and opportunity to all sections, ensuring equal justice to all, and promoting dignity of all citizens. "Reconciliation of all conflicts and contentions harmoniously is a vital pay of this process" Dr. JP said. Lok Satta Party is confident Lok Satta will emerge as a strong national platform to transform our republic and strengthen constitutional values. Sri Varma's leadership and participation are an important milestone in this endeavors.