Sunday, May 10, 2009

Dr.JP's Message to Volunteers

Dear Friend,

You, along with thousands of like-minded volunteers and supporters have done a spectacular job for the 2009 elections! Lok Satta Party (LSP) whole-heartedly acknowledges and thanks all your unstinted efforts including phone calls to voters, talking to and convincing friends and family members, circulating emails, forwarding of SMSes, directly volunteering at our offices and in constituencies and donating to LSP’s cause. All these efforts helped ‘create a buzz’ about our Party, our campaign and our cause. Your efforts generated hope and excitement and sustained confidence among millions of voters.

The 2009 General Election has been an extraordinary journey….

Lok Satta Party received enthusiastic support received from all sections of the population. There are three reasons why:

  1. Twelve-and-half years of dedicated and committed hard work by thousands of Lok Satta Volunteers making it the largest civil society movement in India; they have been translating ideas into action on a sustained basis since 1997.

  2. The citizens have been watching Lok Satta Party very closely since its formation on October 2, 2006. They have scrutinized every move of LSP and assessed whether actions match its professed ideals on several key fronts:

    • Abjuring voter-inducements such as money and liquor
    • Raising and utilizing resources in a completely ethical and transparent manner
    • Not having alliances and seat adjustments with parties/groups for short-term expediency at the cost of principles and long-term outcomes
    • Whether its agenda is consistent, practical, contributes to nation-building and reconciles conflicting interests
    • Not resorting to extralegal and obstructionist methods of political action such as bandhs, rasta rokos, etc.
    • Internal democracy in conducting the party affairs

    LSP emerged successful on all these counts.

    Most of LSP’s candidates are young, seriously committed to public good but were new to electoral politics and were generally unknown to the people. However, not a single LSP candidate had resorted to unethical practices – even as the top leaders of other parties had shamelessly resorted to bribing of voters with money and liquor, in their own constituencies.

    Thousands of ordinary citizens including the poor and the deprived, and the disadvantaged had contributed their time and money for LSP’s campaign. Many daily wage labourers had contributed Rs. 500-1000 – well beyond their means.

    While there are some shortcomings in the party as a whole, the people have recognized LSP’s honest and earnest efforts to build a New Political Culture and to give a sensible direction to building the country’s future.

  3. The traditional political parties, which are LSP’s competitors, had thoroughly exposed themselves by their naked opportunism, family rule, corruption, absence of a real agenda and bankruptcy of ideas, unethical and illegal practices and lack of demonstrable commitment to public good. The disgust and anger against traditional politics made LSP even more attractive to the voters.

In this election, LSP drew support from all sections of the society and from the following groups, in particular:

  • The youth, including college-educated youth and even school-children
  • Women, especially the housewives
  • The middle class
  • Families affected by the liquor menace, in the rural areas
  • Other sections of the poor, whose children (typically school or college-going) had some awareness about LSP and on the real issues confronting their families.

The challenges faced by LSP have not been small either:

Despite the groundswell of public support, the mainstream media had almost completely ignored LSP. For instance, had a non-Telugu person come to AP and followed the newspapers, she would not have learnt that LSP even exists! This is because of cynicism, corruption including selling of news space for partisan propaganda, directed vested interest and participation in power games. However, thanks to the word-of-mouth, LSP’ message reached nearly all people in the State.

LSP has put up 248 candidates for the AP Legislative Assembly (out of a total of 294 seats) and 33 candidates for the Lok Sabha (out of 42 from the State). The total expenditure incurred by all our candidates and the Party, put together, would be less than half of the expenditure incurred by a single MP candidate from a traditional political party. All the traditional parties put together have spent over 4500 crore rupees during this election; LSP’s total expenditure (party and candidates together) is around 0.1% of this. The average expenditure of LSP’s candidates for each constituency is less than Rs. 1 lakh! Their rivals spent Rs 3-5 crores, on an average.

All things considered, how the groundswell of public opinion would translate into votes and subsequently, into seats will be known only on May 16th, 2009, when the Election Commission counts the votes and declares the results. Irrespective of the election results, Lok Satta Party is firmly committed to successfully establishing a truly ethical New Political Culture across India.

Thanks to all your efforts over the recent few months, Andhra Pradesh has become the epicenter for transformational politics. In five years time, politics of India will change for good as people discover their strength and realize they are the masters of their destiny and not the parties and their candidates.

We hope you will not just continue but increase your support of and participation in LSP’s New Political Culture!

Warm Regards,

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan

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