Thursday, April 9, 2009

Lok Satta Party will produce Dramatic results: Dr. JP

The Lok Satta Party will remain “alive, thriving and kicking” long after the elections are over, irrespective of its performance in the short term, said party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan here today. “But the Lok Satta will surprise everybody by producing dramatic results.”

Taking part in a ‘Meet the Press’ program organized by the Andhra Pradesh Union of Working Journalists, Dr. JP said Lok Satta’s political opponents as also the media had contributed to its growth. He pointed out that the traditional parties by relentlessly exposing each other’s corruption have succeeded in promoting revulsion against current day politics in common people. Paradoxically, sections of the media too have contributed to Lok Satta’s growth by downplaying Lok Satta’s impact and triggering a “word of mouth” campaign in party’s favor.

Dr. JP described the response among the public to the party as tremendous. The Lok Satta, he said, has emerged as the voice of the voiceless and as a platform for constitutional revolt against the present, corrupt political system. But the party does not have the organizational structure to convert the tremendous good will in enjoyed into votes. He would, therefore, appeal to the youth to come forward and take up responsibilities as booth and polling agents.

Replying to a question on social justice, Dr. JP said that it entailed creating equal opportunities for growth to every child, equal treatment of all in matters of law and justice and proportional representation. Social justice did not mean granting party tickets to those who could afford Rs.5 crore. Pointing out that some other parties too were mouthing Lok Satta slogans like ‘silent revolution’ and ‘change’. Dr. JP explained that real change comes about not by changing the players but in changing the rules of the game.

The Lok Satta, he revealed, has allotted the party ticket to 88 BCs, 28 women and 11 minorities. The party is fielding 12 SCs and STs in general constituencies.

Replying to a question on the party’s stand on the Telangana issue, Dr. JP asked whether the demand for a separate State was an end or a means. The Constitution did provide for the carving out of States as also their merger. A mere change of capital without a change in the political setup would not bring about any change in people’s lives. The Lok Satta proposed to form district governments to empower people.

Dr. JP said “the Lok Satta is committed to eradicating poverty in five years since we have the requisite resources and technology. Sixty-two years after the country attained Independence, 80 crore people are living on a per capita of income of Rs.20 a day. In other words, they live on Rs.600,000 crore a year. In contrast, those who have looted the country have stashed away Rs.75 lakh crore of their black money in foreign banks.

Dr. JP said that poverty could be eradicated only with well conceived policies and not gimmicks. Provision of free quality education to every child up to the 12th class, free and quality universal health care, job skills and employment to youth, social security to every family and ensuring higher incomes to farmers and those engaged in traditional occupations alone would eradicate poverty. The Lok Satta agenda included formation of district governments with devolution of resources, powers and personnel and strict restriction of liquor consumption.

Asked whether he could guarantee that the Lok Satta would not degenerate like other parties after elections, he said the Lok Satta could be judged by its credentials. The credit for ushering in historic reforms in governance goes to the Lok Satta. The people can also judge the party by the way it is functioning now. Asked how many seats the party would win, he said it was for the people to decide. All along, the people had been defeating themselves by voting for traditional parties. Asked which party the Lok Satta Party would support in case the election results in a hung Assembly, he said the Lok Satta would support those who subscribed its manifesto containing 50 guarantees to the public.

Mr. D. Somasundar, President, Mr. Narender Reddy, Secretary, APUWJ, and Mr. D. Amar, Chairman, Press Academy spoke.

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