Wiser from experience and after deep introspection, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today announced a fundamental and radical shift in its strategy to convert the abundant goodwill it enjoys among people into votes in the next five to ten years.
Unlike in the past, the party would focus on a few key issues and that too in select areas as experience had taught it that change could not be wrought overnight, Dr. JP told a meeting of party leaders from all over the State.
Dr. JP pointed out that India could have access to Apple’s iPad almost immediately after its launch in the U. S. But it has taken 14 years of sustained struggle for the Lok Satta to be on the verge of realizing its dream of empowering local governments. The Lok Satta, which he described as an accidental party, erred in assuming that people were ready to embrace fundamental political transformation change and what all they needed was an alternative, ethical platform. Three years after it came into existence, the party realized the task was not as easy as it presumed and it had to strengthen society and mobilize people.
“This is no cause for despair or disappointment. Elections, votes,and seats in the short term are not the be all and end all of the Lok Satta.”
“There is not an iota of doubt that the future belongs to the Lok Satta. Both the traditional parties are steeped in crisis. While the Congress Party has no credible leadership, the TDP has no credible policies. In contrast, the Lok Satta has gained more credibility and political space as it is sincere and consistent in articulating and sticking to its core philosophy.”
Dr. JP candidly admitted the party, for want of experience, visualized an ambitious agenda in the belief that conditions were conducive for its implementation. For instance, it planned to open 1000 citizen service centers at the rate of one in each mandal. It succeeded in opening about 150 centers but of them only one functioned effectively.
Dr. JP asked party workers to reconcile themselves to the fact that it would take years for them to realize their dream of transforming society. Since they had limited resources and energies, they should focus their attention on a few issues and in a phased manner to have the maximum impact. “The real challenge is to build leadership at all levels in society.”
He wanted party workers to undertake a mass contact program on issues like people’s needs like drinking water and power, opportunities in education and healthcare, empowerment of local governments and elimination of corruption. The party has tentatively identified 37 municipalities and 20 mandals where it will carry on a sustained movement to educate and enlighten people and enlist them in addressing their problems in the first phase.
Dr. JP announced that he himself would undertake a tour and take part in round-table conferences at the district level in a bid to address people’s problems which transcend political differences. “Let us be ambitious in respect of long-term goals but be realistic in focusing on deliverable agenda.”
He counseled party workers not to be rattled by attempts of parties like the TDP and the BJP to hijack the Lok Satta agenda on restraining liquor consumption. “We should be willing to work with every party and group in pursuit of public good. We should welcome collaboration on issues like liquor control, education. and anti-corruption law. The party should be above private interests, and the national interest is always above the party’s interests,” he emphasized.