Thursday, May 7, 2009

Lok Satta spends the least, yet Wins over people: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan disclosed today that the average expenditure incurred by a Lok Satta candidate in the Assembly constituencies is less than Rs.1 lakh in contrast to Rs.3crore -5 crore by each of his or her traditional party rival.

“The total expenditure incurred by all of our candidates and the party 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 Rs.4500 crore during this election; the Lok Satta’s total expenditure (both the party’s and candidates’ put together) is around 0.1% of this.”

Dr, JP, who reviewed the performance of the party in the 2009 elections in North Telangana districts, pointed that most of LSP’s candidates are young, seriously committed to public good but are new to electoral politics and generally unknown to the people. “Yet not a single party 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.”

Briefing the media on the review meeting, party General Secretaries V. Laxman Balaji and G. Raja Reddy said the Lok Satta had contested 248 of the total 294 Assembly seats and 33 of the 42 total Lok Sabha seats.

Dr. JP said the Lok Satta had received enthusiastic support from all sections of people because of its track record as a movement for 12 years since 1997 and as a party since October 2006. By refusing to induce voters with money and liquor, raising and utilizing funds in an ethical and transparent manner and deciding against entering into opportunistic electoral alliances the party impressed the voters. Also appealing to the voters were its practical agenda to transform the people’s lives, its commitment against inconveniencing people through unconstitutional means like bandhs and rasta rokos and its internal democracy.

Dr. JP said the party’s political rivals had strengthened the Lok Satta by exposing themselves with 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 the LSP even more attractive to the voters.”

Dr. JP said that despite the groundswell of public support, the mainstream media had almost completely ignored LSP. Had a non-Telugu person come to AP and followed newspapers, he or she would not have known that the Lok Satta Party even existed. “This is because of cynicism, corruption including selling of news space for partisan propaganda, vested interests and participation in power games.” However, thanks to the word-of-mouth, LSP’ message reached nearly all people in the State.

Dr. JP said that the 2009 elections have made Andhra Pradesh the epicenter for transformational politics. “In five years time, politics of India will change for the better as people discover their strength and realize they are the masters of their destiny and not the parties and their candidates.”

At a time the media continued to speculate as to which of the three parties – the Congress, TDP and PRP – would come to power in Andhra Pradesh, about 50 young men from Maheswaram and L. B. Nagar areas joined the Lok Satta Party in the presence of Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan at the party headquarters here today.

“We are unconcerned about the outcome of the general elections since no traditional party could transform the present state of affairs. We believe that the Lok Satta alone will deliver what it has promised,” said Mr. Panneeru Srinivas and Mr. Kottam Jangayya Yadav, who led them. They said all of them had been TDP supporters in the past.

Welcoming the young people into the party, Dr. JP said the present elections would change politics in the country forever since lakhs of youth, women and considerable sections of the poor had realized the importance of voting in transforming their lives.

Although the Lok Satta enjoyed tremendous support from people, it had not been able to translate it into votes because of the inability of party candidates to spend even the minimum permitted amounts, media’s calculated neglect of the party, casteism assuming epidemic proportions, irresistible offers of money and liquor in return for votes and pulls and pressures exerted by traditional party leaders on ignorant and illiterate rural voters.

Notwithstanding formidable odds, the results would show the Lok Satta’s performance in terms of votes polled would be extraordinary, said Dr. JP.

Referring to the Bholakpur tragedy in which a number of people died because of polluted drinking water, Dr. JP asked why no political party other than the Lok Satta had talked of providing protected water to every habitation. The Lok Satta had promised not merely drinking water but also a toilet for every home, and road and public transport facilities to every village.

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