Friday, June 19, 2009

Lok Satta to rope in opinion makers

The Lok Satta Party plans to identify at least 100 influential opinion makers in every Assembly constituency and enlist them as honorary members by invitation.

The party, which conducted a three-day intensive review of its performance in the 2009 elections by interacting with the contestants, came to the conclusion that there was an enormous gulf between the public esteem it enjoyed and the votes it polled.

Disclosing this at a media conference, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said the challenge before the Lok Satta is formidable in that it has to operate amidst a hostile and corrupt political and electoral system to translate its support base into votes.

Dr. JP said that for the first time in a generation the middle classes have realized that politics is a necessity and noble endeavor and owned up the Lok Satta Party and its agenda as their own.

Transformation in any society, Dr. JP, said was possible only when the middle classes, the media and influential opinion makers joined hands. With the middle classes already on its side, the Lok Satta has to associate the media and influential opinion makers in its mission to transform India. Dr. JP hoped that the media, as a moral instrument, would in the long run identify itself with the interests and aspirations of the middle classes. The real challenge lay in providing space to public opinion makers with ability and influence. The Lok Satta would identify such people and enlist them as honorary members.

The party identified deficiencies in leadership, organization and resources as responsible for its poor electoral performance. The party needed leaders of quality and integrity, clean money to run honest politics and a robust organization. To address all the issues together, the party decided to create an institutional mechanism.

The party plans to have three types of members. The most important category is the executive membership. It is open to all citizens with a good personal track record. They pay an annual membership fee of Rs.1000 or Rs.100 a month. They will have the right to contest at every level in organizational elections. They will also be entrusted with the task of identifying candidates to contest to elected offices.

The other two types of members are primary members and associate members. Primary members pay a fee of Rs.100 for three years and enjoy the right to vote in village and mandal organizational elections in rural areas and ward/divisional elections in urban areas. Associate members pay a fee of Rs.10 and enjoy the right to vote in party elections at the local level.

Dr. JP said that honorary members enlisted by the party would enjoy all the privileges of executive members.

The revamping of the organization has been so conceived that it facilitates mobilization of resources from members and emergence of leaders, said Dr. JP.

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