Monday, August 9, 2010

Fight against the four evils of Poverty, Liquor, Corruption and Centralization

Lok Satta’s Quit India Agenda

The Lok Satta Party observed the Quit India anniversary today by calling for a movement to rid the country of the four evils of poverty, centralization of power, corruption, and liquor -- all of which are inter-related.

Addressing the media, party President Dr.Jayaprakash Narayan said that the fruits of Independence and tremendous economic development have eluded the overwhelming majority of people because of systemic ills plaguing the nation.

"We have to battle the four evils today unlike in the past when we had to fight only the British. Only a relentless and united struggle by all sections of people will help us fight these evils and usher in true Swaraj."

Although the British left the country more than six decades ago, their legacy of centralization of power continues to flourish. Pointing out that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, Dr.JP said that Chief Ministers all over the country have become modern day monarchs and bureaucrats their handmaidens. Local Governments have become irrelevant as they are denied powers, resources, and personnel to serve the people who elected them.

He recalled how Mahatma Gandhi faulted Tanguturi Prakasam Pantulu for accepting a gift of Rs. one lakh on his birthday and said there are hundreds of leaders who have looted crores of rupees of public money unabashedly.

Dr. JP said the rulers irrespective of the party to which they belong have mastered the art of perpetuating themselves in power by ensuring the poor remained poor by drowning them in liquor to undermine their capacity to fight for a better future.

"This is not the Independence that Mahatma Gandhi dreamed of and for which tens of thousands of people had struggled for decades."

Dr.JP underlined that Governments could not eradicate poverty by throwing crumbs like rice at Rs.2 a kg. People have to be made self-reliant by making available quality education and health care, skill enhancement and livelihood opportunities to every one without any discrimination based on the accident of birth in a certain caste or class, region or religion. Instead of following such an agenda, successive Governments have been using liquor not merely as a source of revenue to the exchequer but also as a weapon to mute people's protests against poverty and destitution.

Dr.JP demanded that local Governments be treated as the third tier in Government with devolution of powers, resources and personnel as envisaged in the 73rd and 74th amendments to the Constitution. Such devolution of powers and responsibilities would help bring down if not eliminate corruption.

The Lok Satta in association with retired Vigilance officials and journalists will fight for a Constitutional amendment for devolution of powers on local Governments and strengthening laws and mechanisms to end corruption.

Dr.JP renewed his call to all thinking persons concerned about the future of their children and the country to transcend their political differences and join hands to usher in new politics. "We have the potential to grow into a super power. We can however realize our potential only when we transform the nature of politics."

In reply to a question, he suggested that the Government constitute an independent authority to deal with land acquisitions.

Mr. D. V. V. S. Varma, State Working President, announced that the State Working Committee would meet on August 11 and 12 to discuss the crisis in State politics and formulate its strategy. Mrs. N. Saroja Devi and Mr. P. Rambabu, Mahila Satta and Yuva Satta leaders respectively took part in the media meet.

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