Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Lok Satta to foster new political culture

JP advocates reforms in police, judicial and electoral segments

Politics has increasingly become the preserve of a new class of entrepreneurs abusing public office for private gain. There has been excessive centralisation, ineffective instruments of rule of law, marginalisation of citizens in governance and autocratic parties which has led to a perverse political culture.

It is in this backdrop, the Lok Satta Party (LSP) has felt that it should convert itself into a national political party so that it could foster a new political culture and create a new political formation for the new generation, party national president Dr Jayaprakash Narayan said here on Tuesday.
Talking to The Hans India, Narayan said that the time was ripe to focus on various reforms like police reforms, judicial reforms, electoral reforms and reforms in panchayat raj. The LSP would play a major role in trying to bring these reforms.

As a first step it has decentralised the party and has decided that the top leaders including Dr Narayan will function mostly from New Delhi while the state units which have elected bodies in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu will focus on will look after people’s basic needs, which have so far taken a backseat as the political parties are increasingly getting mired in ‘corrupt and power hungry political culture,’ he said.

Narayan said that he foresees an unstable and disappointing political scenario post-2014 elections both at the Centre and the State. But the silver lining is that people will become wiser and a change for better would take place and the uncertainties would come to end thereafter. While refusing to predict which party would lead the coalition at Centre, he said that he does not rule out the possibility of a similar situation in the State as well.

He said that Lok Satta did not live under the illusion that it would come to power immediately. But it will participate in electoral politics. “Changes cannot be brought overnight, it requires tremendous patience.

All those who are joining Lok Satta know this very well,” he said adding that the electoral process has thrown up deficiencies but despite some imperfections in it, people opt for it because there is no better alternative.

When asked how Lok Satta proposes to take its ideology into the people since it was not known for launching agitations as other political parties do, Narayan said that he disagreed with this argument. He said other political parties were indulging in ‘drama’. “Sitting on dharnas, damaging public and private property is not the way to agitate,” he suggested. He also said that it was Lok Satta which laid the foundation for the agitation for Lok Pal bill.

It is also wrong to say that they are cadre based parties while Lok Satta does not have cadre.

Those parties having cadre is a myth. The leaders have to spend huge money to have audience for their meetings. “Unless an MLA pays them money, provides food packets, proper transportation and liquor they don’t attend the meetings. That cannot be called as cadre,” he said.

Lok Satta has been achieving what it had promised, though they do not have even a single MP, he explained.

Referring to the reservations expressed by states at the recent meeting in New Delhi, he said that it was surprising that the states which fight for their rights in a federal set-up want to deny the citizens the right to impartial, fair and effective rule of law. Lok Satta, he said, welcomes states becoming stronger but opposes behaving like feudal oligarchies.

“Police reforms, institution of strong anti corruption mechanisms, empowerment of local governments and guaranteeing services to the citizens as a matter of right are all at the heart of governance reforms. The States should not torpedo governance reforms by raising spurious arguments. None of these reforms empower the Centre. They only make the state more accountable to people,” he added.

Appealing to the state governments, political parties, media and the civil society he asked them to ensure that the agenda of accountable and transparent governance, effective rule of law is pursued as the future of the economy and society depends on the actions they take today. Any delay in acting on these changes will hurt democracy and the nation, he added.

State president Katari Srinivasa Rao said that the Lok Satta has been working quietly among the people and stood at the second position in Karnataka Legislative Council elections. In Maharashtra, six out of its candidates have been elected as sarpanchas.

The Lok Satta has put up candidates for Karnataka Assembly elections, which are to be held soon. He said that in Andhra Pradesh, the Lok Satta will contest the ensuing Panchayat Raj elections and all other local body elections as well as the Assembly and Lok Sabha elections.

Courtesy: The Hans India

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