Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Judiciary too is guilty of delaying Local body elections: Dr.JP

Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today that successive Governments, Legislatures and even the highest judiciary of the land have failed to honor both the letter and spirit of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments mandating elections to local bodies before the conclusion of their five-year term.

Releasing the party’s manifesto for municipal elections in Andhra Pradesh, Dr. JP said Governments might have a vested interest in postponing elections but he could not understand why even the Judiciary had been tardy in enforcing what is ordained in the Constitution. The judiciary’s interminable delays even on core provisions of the Constitution are reprehensible, he added.

Dr. JP said that municipal, ZPTC and MPTC elections are being held in Andhra Pradesh only as a matter of ritual. Yet, people should take the elections seriously since resolution of their day-to-day problems is intertwined with those whom they are going to elect. They should set aside affiliations to parties since all parties in the State are virtually dead.

Dr. JP recalled that the State Legislature had adopted the nearly Rs.1.85-lakh crore annual budget by a voice vote without any discussion. It involves a per capita expenditure of Rs.22000. If a mere Rs.1000 per capita is funneled to elected ward committees, people can get their immediate problems addressed without their having to knock at legislators’ and minister’s doors. The situation in the State now is so pathetic that a file relating to the transfer of even a primary school teacher has to be cleared by the Chief Minister. A ward in Hyderabad with a population of an average 60000 people will benefit to the extent of Rs. 30 crore in five years, if the Lok Satta proposal on per capita grant is conceded.

Rs. 1000 percapita grant at the Ward or Panchayat level, citizen’s charters for time bound services with a penalty for delays, and local ombudsmen to curb corruption are the core agenda items of Lok Satta in local elections.

Dr. JP disclosed that the Lok Satta has taken up with the 14th Finance Commission the proposal for direct devolution of a part of funds meant for States to elected ward committees in towns and villages.

Dr. JP said that the credit for crafting the municipal election manifesto goes to Vice President D. V. V. S. Varma and a dedicated party team.

Mr. Varma said that the Lok Satta is promoting direct democracy by making people partners in administration through ward committees and area sabhas.

State party President Katari Srinivasa Rao said that the party has so far decided to field candidates in 110 municipalities and 8 corporations.

He disclosed that he had to make Herculean efforts to get his name enrolled in the voter’s list as he found his name deleted. He had contested three elections and carried a voter card for eight years. The plight of ordinary citizens in registering themselves as voters could be imagined if such a fate had befallen him, he added.

Replying to a question, Dr. JP said that in the present confusing environment in the State, the Lok Satta Party has decided to contest only a limited number of seats in the ensuing elections to the Assembly. It is prepared for agenda based electoral adjustments, he added.

Replying to another question, he said it was strange that a Jai Samaikhya Andhra Party is springing up although the division of the State is a done deal. He said the Lok Satta always stood for direct election of mayors and municipal chairpersons.

Mr. P. Ravi Maruth, party General Secretary, Mr. Y. D. Rama Rao, Vice President and Mrs. Kanthimathi Kannan, the party candidate contesting from Nampalli Assembly seat, took part in the media meet.

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