Monday, November 30, 2009
The Lok Satta Party expresses great relief over withdrawal of the indefinite fast by the TRS leader Sri. K. Chandrasekhara Rao. Lok Satta Party president Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that KCR showed great sagacity and wisdom in breaking his fast. He said his life and good health are precious for the stage.
Now the government at Union and State level should immediately address the legitimate problems of backwardness in Telangana and other regions, said JP. Honest and effective implementation of G.O. 610, constitution of an empowered state Planning Board, a comprehensive package for Telangana and all other backward regions, strong measure to ensure education and employment to all youth, and empowerment of local governments as district level and below must be integral to any meaningful effort to solve the problem.
The Lok Satta appealed to all students, youth, political parties and civil society organizations to exercise restraint and ventilate their views in a peaceful and democratic manner and to help restore peace and normalcy.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today squarely blamed the traditional parties for the violence raging in the name of Telanagana today. They had allowed the issue of regional imbalances to fester for four decades without making any sincere and honest attempt to address it.
Addressing the media, Dr. JP recalled that the Telangana issue had come to the fore once again for the last seven years. Yet, both the TDP and Congress Governments in the State and the NDA and the UPA Governments at the Center had not made any attempt to resolve the regional imbalances issue.
Dr. JP expressed regret that the traditional parties sought to exploit regional feelings for vote bank politics or to prove their existence by resorting to vandalism. Had they been interested in addressing the issue of regional imbalances, they would have constituted the State Planning Board as part of the Six-Point Plan and sincerely implemented G. O. No. 610.
He demanded that all parties try to resolve the Telangana issue once and for all, instead of viewing it as a law and order problem. He wanted the State Government to immediately initiate talks with the Telangana agitators and the Government of India to announce a development package for Telangana and other backward regions in the State.
Dr. JP appealed to the TRS to carry on its agitation in accordance with the Constitution, without resorting to violence. “Let us all fight together to end regional disparities”, Dr. JP said.
Replying to a question on the propriety of the Government arresting TRS President K. Chandrasekhara Rao who planned to go on a fast unto death, Dr. JP said the Government would attract flak whatever it did after allowing the situation to come to such a pass. He recalled that failure to prevent kar sevaks from congregating at the Babri Masjid led to the chain of events that resulted in the destruction of the mosque and subsequent communal riots.
Mr. V. Laxman Balaji, Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy and Mr. E. Chennayya shared the dais with Dr. JP.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
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.
The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Delhi High Court judgment declaring the allocation of 2G licenses as illegal arbitrary and said the Government of India should seize the opportunity to cancel all the licenses already issued and issue fresh licenses on the basis of international competitive bidding.
The Telecom Department had initially invited applications for allocation of licenses and spectrum up to October 1, 2007. But on January 10, 2008 it declared that applications received up to September 25 would be eligible for licenses. The advancement of the date benefited eight companies. Of them, two companies – Unitech Wireless and Swan Telecom – who were awarded licenses sold them at huge valuations.
The arbitrary advancement of date left the applications of 16 companies, including that of AT&T of the U. S. in limbo. One of the aggrieved companies approached the Delhi High Court. A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court has now upheld the judgment delivered by a single judge earlier.
Talking to the media, party spokespersons Mr.YD Rama Rao, V.Laxman Balaji, Panduranga Rao, Mrs. Saroja Devi recalled that the Government of India had already instituted a CBI inquiry into the allocation of 2G licenses following charges that the Government been defrauded of huge revenue because of arbitrary allocation.
“Whether it is grant of the telecom spectrum or leases for natural resources like iron ore, bauxite and coal, only international competitive bidding will eliminate scope for favoritism and corruption and ensure that the exchequer does not suffer avoidable revenue loss. The first-come-first-served policy lends itself to be grossly abused.”
The Lok Satta President, Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, will be shortly writing to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and floor leaders of all parties in both Houses of Parliament seeking the formulation of a comprehensive policy on grant of licenses for telecom spectrum or mining of natural resources so that the scope of private gain and windfall profits is eliminated and the Governments both at the Center and in States do not suffer any revenue losses.
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan expressed disappointment over the party’s dismal performance in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections. “Defeat, however, is not a matter for despair. It is not the end of the road. For us, victory is a means to accomplish a larger goal and not an end by itself.”
Talking to media persons who called on him, Dr. JP said: “If the goals we subscribe to are necessary and good for the country and our means are pure and without malice, we will surely overcome all obstacles.”
Dr, JP said that the Lok Satta made two fundamental assumptions. One is that the nature of politics needs to be totally transformed. Politics as it is practiced is plagued by criminalization, centralization, corruption. As a result, we have dismally failed in building up human capacity and eliminating poverty. The other Lok Satta assumption is that the people are willing and ready for transforming the nature of politics. The election results reveal that a majority of people are not yet ready to embrace new politics. “
Dr. JP said the people had voted for the status quo without utilizing the platform built by the Lok Satta for ushering in alternative politics. They viewed the elections as a spectator sport and enjoyed the two traditional parties fighting like wolves. Unfortunately, they did not realize that the fight was over who should gobble up the lamb (the voter) first.
“A majority of people continued to believe in hero worship without appreciating each one is a hero in his own life. That’s why the Lok Satta’s call to people to grab the opportunity for self-rule as detailed in its manifesto did not click. Voting based on political parties’ policies and programs is yet to take root.”
The Lok Satta Party, Dr. JP pointed out, fielded competent and educated candidates with no criminal antecedents. It released a credible and practicable agenda for the city and for different divisions and took its message to people. It stuck to its policy decision of not luring voters with money, liquor and other inducements. It carried on an honest and abole election campaign. Yet the people did not utilize the Lok Satta platform. Apparently, the Lok Satta had failed in convincing the people that it is the only party which is fighting for the people.
“We may have to undertake course correction after deep introspection,” added Dr. J.P.
Dr. JP thanked the tens of thousands of people who had voted for the Lok Satta spurning inducements and in the face of adversity. He also congratulated the thousands of party workers who invested their time, effort and money in working for the Lok Satta without anticipating anything in return except the good of the country.
“Setbacks are only to be expected when we are on a mission to change history. We believe in fight and not flight.”
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Andhra Pradesh Government decision, although belated, to halt mining of iron ore by six companies in Anantapur district as suggested by a Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee.
Talking to the media, Lok Satta Party spokespersons --- said, “It is not enough if mining is suspended for the time being. The Government should straightway cancel all mining leases and allot them afresh on the basis of international competitive bidding.”
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that Andhra Pradesh is endowed with precious natural resources like iron ore, bauxite, and granite to name a few. The present policy of awarding leases on a first-come-first-served basis is flawed in that it gives scope for favoritism, nepotism and corruption, whichever party happens to be in power in the State. There is scope for corruption not merely in the grant of leases but also in the fixation of royalty to the Government. For instance, while the Karnataka Government is collecting a levy of Rs.1000 on every truckload of iron ore lifted from mines in that State, the Andhra Pradesh Government is still “thinking” of levying some charge.
In international competitive bidding, the mines can be leased to the highest bidders and Government revenue maximized.
Both the print and the electronic media have been carrying reports of illegal mining of minor minerals all over the State. The financially hard pressed Andhra Pradesh should not forgo the opportunity of stepping up its mineral revenue by granting leases only to highest bidders in competitive bidding.
The Lok Satta leaders pointed out that illegal mining of minerals ranging from iron ore to sand could not take place without the collusion of politicians and officials with leaseholders. The built-in corruption in the system could be tackled if the Prevention of Corruption Act is implemented to bring all elected representatives ranging from MPs and MLAs to MPP presidents and sarpanches under the purview of the Act, independent investigative and prosecuting mechanisms introduced and fast track courts formed at the rate of at least one for each district. The Act should be amended for the seizure of properties of the accused pending trial and their forfeiture, if the accused are found guilty.
“Otherwise, the day for the emergence of many Madhu Kodas in Andhra Pradesh will not be too far. Minting millions of rupees ever day in mining operations, the mining lobby will not be satisfied with dabbling in politics; it would like to dictate politics as was witnessed in our neighboring State Karnataka in the recent past. The problem is not merely with mining mafias, it is one of illegitimate money and big money capturing all levers of power and fast-converting our democracy into a plutocracy.”
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today demanded that a law be enacted in Parliament empowering the Government of India to deploy its forces anywhere in the country to address major public order problems that lead to the breakdown of the Constitutional machinery. In fact, the Second Administrative Reforms Commission had made such a recommendation.
Addressing the media, Dr. JP described the Liberhan report on the Babri Masjid demolition makes “much ado about nothing.” The learned Justice had taken 17 long years to present a report full of conjectures and guesses without any solid evidence to nail any culprits for Babri Masjid demolition on December 6, 1992. The criminal cases registered after the mosque demolition continued to be pending even to this day with none having been convicted. “The report testifies to the Lok Satta contention that criminal investigation in India continues to be antediluvian and needs to be thoroughly reformed. The Lok Satta has all along been advocating formation of an independent criminal investigation authority and independent prosecution machinery.”
The Lok Satta President maintained that the Government of India had clearly failed to act even when the danger of unruly mobs damaging or demolishing the mosque was evident to everybody. There was some merit in the argument that use of force against lakhs of people who had assembled in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992 was not resorted to because of fear of heavy casualties. The Government of India, however, could not be exonerated on that pretext since other remedies were open to it.
The Government of India could have preemptively dismissed the Kalyan Singh Government and brought the State under President’s rule under Article 356. Its failure to invoke President’s rule on the pretext the Governor had not recommended such a course of action did not hold water. Article 356 provided for Central intervention on its own even without Governor’s recommendation. The Government of India, which had abused Article 356 repeatedly, chose not to invoke it when it was clearly warranted.
Much earlier, the Union Government could have exercised its powers under Article 256 to direct the State to ensure that administration is carried on in compliance with the laws made by Parliament or the State legislature. In addition, Article 355 says that it shall be Union Government’s duty to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and it can send forces to maintain public order.
Dr. JP said it might be difficult to pinpoint criminal responsibility on leaders like Atal Behari Vajypaee, L. K. Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi for the demolition of the mosque. They had, however, dismally failed politically.
“The roots of the 1992 tragedy lie in the politics of hatred assiduously propagated by major political parties for electoral gains. The mosque demolition and the subsequent communal riots could be directly traced to the climate of frenzy, hatred and intolerance promoted by the BJP and its front organizations. It is time we realized that the politics of hatred preached on the basis of region, religion, caste and language by any party will undermine the country’s unity and integrity and sound the death knell of democracy.”
The apathy of voters to exercising their franchise in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections either out of revulsion or contempt for politics is a matter of grave concern, said Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, Lok Satta Party President, here today.
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP said the voter behavior does not bode well for democracy. Assuming that the percentage of polling was about 44 percent, a party polling less than 15 percent in a multi-cornered contest would have got away with a seat in the GHMC Council. “Could you call such a local government representative and our democracy full-blooded?”
“What is more tragic is that the voters have come to view elections as a spectator sport, as a fight among some parties or politicians and have little to do with them. The GHMC electorate has once again underlined the truth in the maxim that bad governments are elected by good people who do not go to the polling booth.
“When voters remain indifferent, parties with no credible and practicable agenda sweep the elections by luring pliable voters with money and liquor and fielding candidates with criminal antecedents, money and muscle power. It is the voters themselves who pay a heavy price for their indifference since their day-to-day living hinges on the type of candidates they elect or choose not to elect. In a local government, people have to depend on their elected representative to address their problems ranging from drinking water and sanitation to street lights and roads. The corporator who gets elected by spending up to Rs.2 crore would be interested in making many times more than his or her investment in the business of politics, and not in resolving people’s problems.”
Dr. JP said the voters should realize no amount of arm-chair criticism of politics and politicians would provide them an iota of relief for the next five years. Politics is the only means by which they can improve their living conditions. By effectively deploying the weapon of vote in their hands, voters can dictate politics and politicians. Instead, they have now conceded the battle even before it has begun to politicians.”
On complaints of names missing in the voters’ lists, Dr. JP said the concerned authorities should be ashamed of the state of affairs. Following a prolonged agitation by the Lok Satta movement, the Election Commission of India had made the post office the nodal agency for registration of voters on a pilot basis in some towns of Andhra Pradesh. Apparently because of shoddy implementation, many voters found their names missing.
On the suggestion that voting be made compulsory with attendant penalties for failure to vote, Dr. JP said that its implementation in a vast country like India is riddled with many problems.
Dr. JP expressed his distress and dismay over the depths to which public discourse has descended in the recent past. Most political parties and politicians did not bat an eyelid in fomenting hatred among people based on caste and religion, region and language. They exhibited no moral compunction in demonizing their opponents by uttering lies and indulging in innuendos.
In this connection, Dr. JP referred to the false propaganda unleashed against the party’s candidate in the Bagh Lingampalli ward to the effect that he was distributing money to voters. The candidate was too poor to afford even normal expenditure. He also took exception to the comment that he violated the Election Code by asking people to exercise their franchise by sending SMSaday before the polling. He said he was ready to face any prosecution on that count. “Should the Lok Satta take lessons from liars and back-stabbers? They are stooping to make baseless allegations against someone who has been in public life without a single blemish simply because he is coming in the way of their opportunistic politics.”
Dr. JP said that politics by definition should be ennobling. Instead, it has been debased to sub-human levels. He would appeal to politicians to refrain from making personal attacks on each other and elevate public discourse by marshaling arguments based on facts, reason and logic. “Let us all work together to restore nobility to the profession of politics and contribute to strengthening democracy.”
Asked how many seats the Lok Satta would win in the GHMC elections, Dr. JP said he was not an astrologer to forecast the results. “Irrespective of the number of seats we win, we will continue to fight for transforming politics. We have miles to go before we can rest.”
Sunday, November 22, 2009
The CBI should be asked to inquire into the nexus between politicians and grant of mining leases, the Lok Satta Party demanded here today.
Commenting on Chief Minister K. Rosaiah’s offer to resign if the TDP got a single seat more than the Congress in the GHMC elections, Lok Satta Party spokesmen Mr. YD Ramarao, Katari Srinivasarao, V. Lakshman Balaji said the challenge was irrelevant. The controversy over the Obulapuram Mining Company should not be reduced to a slanging match between the Congress and the TDP. It involved the exploitation of precious but depleting natural resources costing thousands of crores of rupees.
The Lok Satta demanded that the Government straightway cancel all the mining leases and call for competitive international bidding in the interests of the State and the nation.
The CBI, the party hoped, would naturally look into the Central Empowered Committee’s findings on the OMC.
The NRI wing of the Lok Satta Party, ‘People for Lok Satta,’ has appealed to voters in Hyderabad to exercise their franchise in the GHMC elections on Monday, November 23, without fail as their voting determines their living conditions in the city for the next five years.
‘People for Lok Satta’ in an open letter to the voters of Hyderabad said, “Although we live in alien lands, our hearts beat for people in our motherland. We are distressed at the state of affairs in Andhra Pradesh where criminal elements and land grabbers have been coming to power by squandering ill-gotten money and preventing good elements from making a mark by launching a campaign of calumny. The voters have now the opportunity to change the situation for better by deploying the vote weapon in their hands.”
The NRIs appealed to the people of Hyderabad to vote only for those with character, integrity and competence and save their city from awful governance.
Lok Satta Party leaders Y. D. Rama Rao, Katari Srinivasa Rao and V. Laxman Balaji released the NRI’s letter from New Jersey to the media. The letter was signed by Prasad Gattu, Manasa Mahati, Mahesh, Putta Ratnakar, Dandeboyina Nagaraju, Suresh Yediga, Ramanaidu, Prasanna, Srinivas Ranabothula, Solipuram Raghava and Vijay Reddy.
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan will be casting his vote at 10-00 a.m. in the polling station at Shiekhpet Tahsildar’s office on Road No. 2, Banjara Hills.
The Lok Satta Party today charged that an invisible force has been using expelled party members as pawns in its conspiracy to dent the growing popularity of the Lok Satta in the GHMC elections.
Talking to the media, the Lok Satta leaders recalled that Mrs. Akula Maharani who had filed a defamation case against TDP Chandrababu Naidu for his baseless allegations against Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan a few months ago had now chosen to mount similar false charges against Dr. JP.
Mr. Y. D. Rama Rao, Mr. Katari Srinivasa Rao and Mr. V. Laxman Balaji pointed out that parties which had no credible agenda are trying their best to discredit the Lok Satta Party by deploying members expelled from the party. They had been holding media conferences to spew venom on Dr. JP. And on Sunday, pamphlets deriding Dr. JP were distributed along with newspapers in Chandanagar division. The party is registering a case against the anonymous people who brought out the pamphlets.
They disclosed that the party leadership, in tune with its democratic functioning, had delayed announcing its mayoral candidate for a week so as to arrive at a consensus.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Why are the Congress and the TDP candidates spending up to Rs. two crore each to get elected as a corporator in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation?
Posing this question, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today pointed out that a corporator who gets a monthly salary of Rs.3000 will have to toil for 600 years merely to recoup the investment in elections, without taking the cost of interest into account.
Addressing election meetings in Malakpet area, Dr. JP said that the traditional party contestants are not fools to throw away precious money down the Musi merely to get elected as corporators. They are looking forward to making many times their investment in the business of politics through umpteen ways ranging from collecting commissions from contractors and land grabbers to facilitating land dispute settlements and postings and transfers of officials.
“The two political wolves are fighting for the right to eat the humble lamb, the voter.
“Make no mistake; the two parties would not even think of transferring resources and powers to local governments as envisaged by Article 243 of the Constitution. In pursuance of the Constitutional provision, the Government of India inserted a conditionality for making available funds under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). The condition is that the State Governments should empower local Governments by transferring resources and responsibilities to be eligible for funds under the JNNURM. Although the State Government adopted a law as early as in 2008 to empower local governments, it had not implemented it since it would deprive the rulers of the advantages of centralized power. Which politician in the State would like to forgo the opportunity of making money by empowering local governments? It would be tantamount to committing hara-kiri.
The Lok Satta President said there are two kinds of politics in vogue today. The traditional parties believe in luring voters with money, liquor and biryani or by offering short-term inducements like television sets and cash transfers or make political mileage by dividing them on the basis of religion and caste, language and region. They don’t believe in empowering people with provision of quality healthcare and education and opportunities for livelihood.
In contrast to them, the Lok Satta believes in the innate wisdom of the voters who are self-respecting and love their children and families. The party believes if power is given to them they will transform society.
Dr. JP said, “There is no magic wand which can transform society and improve people’s lives. Even if Mahatma Gandhi were to be reborn, he too would fail unless people are empowered as envisaged by him decades ago.”
By repeatedly saying that Lok Satta policies and programs are not practicable, TDP President N. Chandrababu Naidu is making it plain that he is interested in continuing the politics of loot and plunder, charged the Lok Satta Party here today.
“Apparently, he believes that change in people’s lives is neither warranted nor feasible,” said Lok Satta leaders Y. D. Rama Ro, Bhisetty Babji, V. Laxman Balaji and Eeda Chennayya at a media conference.
The Lok Satta posed a string of ten stinging questions to Mr. Chandrababu Naidu:
The Lok Satta Party has not fielded any candidate with criminal background. Does Babu believe that politics has place only for criminals?
The Lok Satta does not lure voters with money and liquor or other inducements. Does Babu believe he cannot win votes without offering them?
The Lok Satta has proposed ward governments to devolve powers and resources on them. Does Babu believe that it is impossible?
The Lok Satta does not polarize society on the basis of caste and religion, language and region and believes that every Indian is entitled to live and work here. Does Babu continue to work for the State’s breakup on the one hand and talk of protection to settlers on the other?
The Lok Satta accounts for every rupee it receives and spends. Does Babu think it is impossible to fight elections without tapping black money?
The Lok Satta holds its meetings without hiring people at huge expense in terms of money, liquor, food and transport. Does Babu believe that millions of rupees have to be spent to conduct meetings?
The Lok Satta explains its policies without resorting to character assassination. Does Babu believe that there cannot be a discourse without slinging mud at others?
The Lok Satta has come up with a Bill to curb corruption by creating autonomous mechanisms and special courts to punish the guilty. Does Babu believe that corruption cannot be eradicated since it hurts politicians?
The Lok Satta does not believe in dynastic politics. Does Babu believe that politics should be the preserve of certain families?
The Lok Satta believes in provision of quality education, healthcare and job-oriented skills to everybody. Does Babu believe in keeping people as perpetual beggars by doling them out TVs and cash transfers?
The Lok Satta leaders maintained that a vote to either the TDP or the Congress would be a wasted vote since both of them are committed to perpetuating politics of loot. They appealed to voters to exercise their franchise and elect good candidates since their future is at stake.
Friday, November 20, 2009
“If we stay away from voting in the ensuing GHMC elections and do not elect right candidates, we will have to continue to live with unsafe drinking water and overflowing drains, manholes without covers and overstuffed garbage dumps, and pot-holed roads and unending traffic jams,” warned Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. “Mosquitoes, dogs and pigs will continue to have a field day. Being great levelers by nature, they do not distinguish between the poor and the rich, the educated and the uneducated.”
Addressing a media conference, Dr. JP pointed out that the revulsion for politics among the educated, middle classes, youth and women has attracted the cynical and vulgar marauders, land grabbers and looters unfit for public life to monopolize politics. “Bad leaders are elected by good people who do not vote for change.”
“It is time we acted in concert transcending caste and religion, region and language took charge of politics to prevent the decay of our city, decline in our economy and breakdown in public order. That is possible only when the educated, middle classes, youth, women shed their aversion for politics and exercise their franchise.”
Dr. JP added, “There are no silver-bullet solutions to people’s problems. They can be resolved only when we ruthlessly eliminate corruption, bring the myriad agencies concerned with civic life under one umbrella and empower people with resources and responsibilities.”
Dr. JP pointed out that as per the GHMC Act, even the Mayor’s post is ornamental since the Government has not parted with any real powers. Still, traditional party candidates are vying with each other to spend up to Rs.2 crore to get elected to the GHMC, although their parties have not uttered a single word on empowering the GHMC with powers and resources. The traditional party candidates hope to mint money at public expense once elected and hence the competition among them.
“The Lok Satta is the only party which has the determination and commitment to entrust people-elected committees with powers and resources to redress people’s grievances without making them run from pillar to post. The party will ensure that every ward in the GHMC receives a per capita grant of Rs.1000 so that the ward committee does not have any constraint of funds. The Lok Satta will implement a Citizen’s Charter under which the GHMC will pay a penalty of Rs.100 per day if a complainant’s grievance is not redressed within the specified time limit.”
Dr. JP announced that the Lok Satta, if elected to power in the GHMC, would appoint a person of integrity and competence to ensure that power is not abused by corporators and that swift punishment is meted out to the guilty. It will expel party corporators guilty of moral turpitude.
Dr. JP appealed to voters to judge the Lok Satta Party on the basis of its track record. Lok Satta treats people with respect, and not as purchasable commodities. It always practiced what it preached. It is the only party which accounted for every rupee it collected and spent. It has placed before the voters a practicable agenda which can be implemented. If elected to power, it will transform people’s lives.
The Lok Satta President called upon voters to evaluate the candidates in the race before they cast their vote. Most of Lok Satta Party’s candidates are young and highly educated, who have come up in life on their own. They are not the sons and daughters of politicians or contractors. They have chosen to contest the elections to serve the public and not to make money at public expense. They are all greenhorns with no experience in politicking. Not given to luring voters with money and liquor, their visibility may not match that of traditional party candidates. Since money is not a constraint for traditional party candidates, they are attempting to create an optical illusion of being strong by going round with hired people and musical bands in attendance.
Dr. JP said, “The voters are intelligent enough to separate grain from chaff. They should stage their silent revolt against vulgar politicians by exercising their franchise wisely.”
The Lok Satta President wondered what the Election Commission’s micro observers are doing when the traditional parties are openly splurging money to lure voters.
Mr. G. Raja Reddy, party spokesman, referred to the description of the Lok Satta as a paper party and said, “We concede ours is a paper party, which appeals to voters through the printed word. But ours is not a currency party like theirs.”
Mr. V. Laxman Balaji, Vice President, said that according to a survey conducted by a voluntary agency, only the Lok Satta Party did not field any criminal elements. Mr. Bhisetty Babji, spokesman, announced that party workers would blow whistles at all important centers at 3-30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21 to alert the public on the need to cast their vote.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
The Lok Satta Party has set an example by adding three rooms to an upper primary school at a cost of Rs.300,000 in the flood-ravaged Kesavaram village in Aija mandal of Mahbubnagar district within a month of taking up the work.
The Lok Satta Party had adopted the village to undertake all-round development following the trail of destruction left by floods in River Tungabhadra on October 2. Most of the 400 houses in the village with a population of 2000 were damaged and four hundred acres of land was sand-cast. The Lok Satta Party undertook a comprehensive survey of the problems of the village and submitted a report to the Collector.
The Lok Satta Party deployed modern technology – Light Weight Construction Methodology introduced by LCM India Private Limited --to augment accommodation in the school by adding three class-rooms with a total plinth area of 1000 square feet to the existing four rooms in less than a month. Mr. G. V. Raghava Raju, Managing Director of LCM India and Secretary of the Lok Satta Party unit in Qutbullapur constituency, has stayed in the village for more than a month to supervise school construction.
The Lok Satta team in the village under the leadership of Mr. Raghava Raju, succeeded getting five unauthorized liquor outlets in the village shut down. As a result, most of the residents have stopped drinking. The team also worked with electricity authorities and got power supply restored and seven new transformers erected in place of damaged ones. They educated the village women who have been heavily dependent on micro finance at exorbitant interest to access bank loans at three percent interest.
Mrs. N. Saroja Devi, State Mahila Satta convener, and Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy, party spokesperson coordinated the activities in the village from the Hyderabad-end.
Giving this information at a media conference, party spokespersons Mrs. N. Saroja Devi, Mrs. K. Geetha Murthy, Mr. V. Vijayender Reddy and Mr. Bhisetty Babji said that while the Government was yet to initiate construction of houses for flood victims the Lok Satta fulfilled its promise.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today warned that traditional parties are prepared to take the voters for a ride by promising even the moon and the creation of a beach in Hyderabad. Once elected to power, their candidates look forward to enriching themselves by resorting to land grabbing, lobbying with the Government, seeking commissions in contracts and encouraging anti social elements.
Addressing a GHMC election meeting near ESI Hospital in Sanatnagar division, Dr. JP said his party had fielded candidates who are committed to serving people without anticipating anything in return. The traditional parties had ridiculed the Lok Satta for declaring it would not lure voters with money or liquor. With their campaign having backfired, they now say Lok Satta policies are impracticable. “Do they mean that ethics have no place in politics?”
Dr. JP recalled that both former Chief Ministers – N. Chandrababu Naidu of the TDP and Dr. Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy of the Congress – had failed to fulfill their promise of providing corruption-free governance.
Appealing to voters not to refrain from voting, Dr. JP said that however much they detest traditional parties, they should not detest politics and elections. By failing to vote, they will be perpetuating the present corrupt political culture.
Dr. JP asserted that the Lok Satta alone had the will, determination and commitment to save the city from anti social elements and make life hassle free for the common man. “Society cannot be transformed with traditional party gimmicks. It is possible only when people are empowered with responsibilities and resources. That’s why the Lok Satta has embraced the slogan, ‘Vote for us, power to you’”.
The Lok Satta Party today demanded the convening of a conference of representatives of farmers, sugar factory managements and all political parties to ensure a remunerative price for sugarcane.
Addressing the media, party leaders V. Laxman Balaji, G. Raja Reddy, Bhisetty Babji and S. Manorama said farmers in large parts of the country had switched over from sugarcane to other crops because cane cultivation caused them losses.
They pointed out that Government of India’s Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP) of Rs.1298 per ton fell far short of the cost of cultivation of Rs.2000 per ton. In the process, the Union Government also did away with both the Minimum Support Price and the State Advised Price. Even when the States advised higher prices, many factories did not honor them. They even unduly delayed payments due to them. The Government of India’s decision to fix a Fair and Remunerative Price now freed sugar factories from any obligation to pay other than the FRP.
The Lok Satta leaders said that both sugarcane farmers and consumers are now left to the mercy of factory owners. There was no point in importing sugar at a higher price when it could be produced indigenously at a cheaper rate.
They wanted the Government to resolve the problem immediately before it worsens.
“Beware of GHMC election candidates who are splurging lakhs of rupees every day on campaigning. They are in the race not to serve the public but to earn many times their investment once they are elected. For them politics is business.”
Talking to the media here today, Lok Satta leaders Mr. Babji, Mr. Laxman Balaji, Mr. Raja Reddy, Mrs. S. Manorama referred to reports that traditional parties have fielded many multi millionaires and that they are ready to spend up to Rs.2 crore to just get elected as a member of the GHMC Council.
In contrast, the Lok Satta leaders pointed out, the Lok Satta had the distinction of fielding young and educated candidates. Of the 126 Lok Satta candidates in the race, 72 are youth and 86 graduates (51 male and 35 female). It is the only party which has fielded 27 women and BCs in 52 general seats.
The Lok Satta leaders also took exception to the campaign that the Lok Satta does not deserve a vote because it is small in size. “It is not for other parties to decide whether a party is small or big. It is you, the voter. If you vote, the Lok Satta too will grow bigger.”
The party leaders also appealed to the public to judge the party by its commitment to and track record of pursuing clean politics. “We should be ashamed that we rank 84th in the Corruption Index of Transparency International. If you continue to elect traditional parties, they will perpetuate the rein of corruption.”
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Lok Satta President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today asked the Congress and the TDP whether they were not ashamed of trying to win GHMC elections with liquor and money and in the process burying democracy.
Addressing the media, he called upon voters not to remain silent but revolt against the abhorrent practices of the traditional parties. They should realize that their living conditions in the city would depend on the quality of candidates they elected. The traditional parties have fielded a number of land grabbers and goondas as their candidates and are now trying to get them elected by luring the voters with money and liquor.
Dr. JP appealed to voters to exercise their franchise, without availing themselves the two-day weekend and the polling day holiday to go to their native places. “Any amount of griping after the elections in which they don’t take part and opt to elect candidates of integrity will not help them.”
Dr. JP once again said that providing voting rights to some 63 ex-officio members like MPs, MLAs and MLCs in the election of the GHMC Mayor and Deputy Mayor was blatantly unconstitutional. They cannot even attend meetings of municipal corporations in Mumbai and other cities, leave alone enjoying voting rights. In the Chennai municipal corporation and in corporations in Haryana, MPs and legislators can take part in meetings but do not have voting rights. In contrast, Karnataka shares the dubious distinction with Andhra Pradesh in providing voting rights to MPs and legislators.
Dr. JP welcomed the State Government’s decision to seek a CBI inquiry into iron ore mining by the Obulapuram Mining Company. It was in fact the Lok Satta which had first demanded such a probe to unravel the facts.
Mr. V. Laxman Balaji and Mr. Bhisetty Babji disclosed that both the TDP and the Congress had been hiring function halls under the pretext of celebrating a birthday or some other event and distributing money and liquor. They said they had received reports of such distribution from Karmanghat, Charlapalli, Kushaiguda, Uppal and Borabanda.
The Lok Satta Party would be complaining to the State Election Commission about corrupt electoral practices in a day or two after collecting more details.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan accused the TDP of resorting to gimmicks to hoodwink the electorate in the GHMC elections. “What have the GHMC elections to do with control of prices or declaration of a holiday for repayment of loans,” Dr. JP asked at a media conference. The TDP apparently believed that it could take the people for a ride since they are ignorant.
Dr. JP lambasted the TDP for offering protection to settlers in Hyderabad city by asserting there are no settlers in Hyderabad but only residents. People from all parts of the country have migrated and settled down here for decades since every citizen in this country has a right to live and work anywhere in the country as per the Constitution.
When Andhra Pradesh came into existence in 1956, the city’s population was about 500,000. Today, it is about nine million. “Hyderabad belongs to all of us. Let us build Hyderabad as a microcosm of the country, mirroring the composition of its people.”
Dr. JP did not spare the Congress either and wondered what the Congress meant by promising to develop Hyderabad as a global city. He also took exception to the Congress leaders’ propaganda that the corporation would get funds only if the ruling party was elected to power in the GHMC. Whichever party happened to be in power, the GHMC is entitled to get its share of funds.
Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta Party’s manifesto is unique in that it is the only party which has promised devolution of responsibilities, powers and resources on elected ward committees. “Without such people’s empowerment, their problems could not be resolved even if Dr. Manmohan Singh were to become the Mayor of Hyderabad.”
Dr. JP recalled Article 243 (S) of the Constitution provided for constitution of ward committees. Although the State also enacted a law providing for ward committees’ as a condition to avail of Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission funds, it has not formed them. Neither the Congress nor the TDP believed in parting with real powers to people.
Dr. JP said that some parties’ promise to allocate tax revenue from every ward for works only in that ward was irrational since wards in which poor people live would be deprived of developmental works. That’s why the Lok Satta has proposed allocation of a per capita grant of Rs.1000 to each ward based upon its population.
Dr. JP unveiled plans to bring all the authorities – the HMDA, Metrtopolitan Water and Sewerage Board, Airport Authority, Quli Kutbshahi Authority, Buddha Poornima Authority and Transport Authority – under the umbrella of the GHMC.
The Lok Satta President said his party was committed to saving the city from land grabbers and goondas. It would save the city from the menace of mosquitoes, stray dogs and pigs. It would focus on solving traffic, transport and parking problems. It would provide training and livelihood and employment opportunities to the youth.
The Lok Satta, he said, would resolve people’s problems in a time-bound manner. The citizen would be compensated at the rate of Rs.100 per day for delay in service delivery.
Dr. JP disclosed that the State Election Commission has conceded his party’s request to relax the rule concerning appointment of polling agents. A polling agent need not necessarily be a voter in the same polling booth now, according to the relaxed rule.