Friday, May 14, 2010

Dr. JP counsels NRIs not to lose hope Of transforming India

There are many, many leaders of impeccable integrity in all parties in India, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told a gathering of non-resident Indians here.

Taking part in the ‘Rejuvenate India’ program launched by People for Lok Satta, Dr. JP said said that leaders like Dr. Manmohan Singh, Mr. A. K. Antony, Mr. L. K. Advani, Mr. Narendra Modi, Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharya, Mr. Prakash Karat, Mr. Nitish Kumar are all honest. Yet, they have not been able to dictate the political process for reasons beyond their control.

“There is no need to turn cynical and conclude India is a gone case. Things do happen,” he said and instanced how top leaders of all parties facilitated the enactment of a law on funding of political parties.

Dr. JP said that the bane of India is that most people take the status quo for granted instead of attempting to change it. “If we only we set aside petty differences, we can resolve all problems and grow.”

The greatest hurdle to India’s transformation is the first-past-the-post electoral system, which comes in the way of people voting for the right person. The country can be transformed in no time with a switchover to the proportional representation system. The second hurdle is the reluctance of the best and the brightest to take to politics as a calling and not as a career. So long as the middle classes do not go to the polling booth, there can be no change in the country.

He pointed out that the average polling in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation elections was 41 percent. Assuming that 30 percent of polled votes were bought with money or liquor, the genuine voting was only 11 percent. It was a disgrace. Do people who do not go to the polling booth believe that a miracle or a baba will bring about change? “There is no wonder we get the government we deserve.”

If the Lok Satta Party had not won any seats in the GHMC, it was not its failure. It fielded good candidates at least in 70 constituencies, and mounted an impressive campaign. Yet the people were more interested in getting some candidate defeated and not in getting the right candidate elected. Earlier, the people used to complain they had to choose the lesser evil in elections as they had no choice. They had not changed their behavior although the Lok Satta provided an alternative, ethical forum.

He told the NRIs that he was determined to make Kukatpally, his Assembly constituency, a model constituency. In the last one year, works worth Rs.33 crore had been grounded. He had to bring about change without enjoying any power but with patience and persuasive skills.

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