Hyderabad, Oct 1 (INN): No other civil society movement or political party has achieved so much in so short a time as the Lok Satta in transforming politics in India, asserted Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today. “Yet, we have to miles to go for realizing our goal of good politics and good governance,” he added.
Addressing media to mark the seventh anniversary of the party, Dr. JP pointed out that the Lok Satta was largely responsible for adoption of three Constitutional amendments by Parliament. The 91st amendment to the Constitution imposing a ceiling on the number of Ministers at the Center and in States, the 97th amendment providing for autonomy to cooperatives, and the 120th amendment facilitating formation of a Judicial Appointments Commission are all the results of Lok Satta efforts.
The Lok Satta was also instrumental in the adoption of laws providing for disclosure of assets and liabilities and criminal antecedents of electoral contestants, formation of local courts, political funding law and right to information. Its initiatives for laws on guaranteeing service to citizens and formation of an Indian Judicial Service will bear fruit shortly.
Recalling Lok Satta’s efforts to go to the rescue of the farmer, Dr. JP said it has succeeded in persuading the Union Government to permit export of food grains and impose customs duty on import of edible oils. It has ensured a better price for AP paddy by fighting against illegal restrictions on its movement outside the State. It is fighting on behalf of farmers for the promotion of genetically modified crops.
Dr. JP said the distinction for electing office-bearers through secret ballot for the first time in decades in Indian history goes to the Lok Satta Party.
A lot more remains to be done to transform our politics, governance and economy. Proportional representation system, strong and empowered local governments, independent and effective anti-corruption institutions, and service guarantees law are the most important changes required to make our politics an instrument to improve the lot of the people. Lok Satta is dedicated to creating new politics to a new generation of Indians, and will pursue these goals steadfastly over the next few years, Dr JP said.
Dr. JP appealed to youth, women, farmers, middle classes and self-employed people to be in the forefront in the fight for good governance and economic prosperity. The Lok Satta Party has launched the Surajya movement to demand among other things quality education, healthcare and livelihood opportunities for all, decentralization of administration, provision of Government services as a matter of right and strong institutional mechanisms for eradicating corruption.
Dr. JP said he has no doubt that in the next five to 10 years politics will undergo a transformation for the better because of the awakening among youth, rise of the middle class and the impact of the media.
Dr. JP said the party would decide on its 2014 general election strategy at the party’s General Council meeting in Hyderabad on October 19. The council will debate whether it should contest in all seats or concentrate in select seats and whether it should enter into alliances and if so with whom. The Lok Satta, he said, is conscious of its limitations: First it is short of resources since it does not believe in collecting black money. Second, it does not divide people on the basis of caste and religion, region and language. Third, it has to contend with parties whose agendas and methods are entirely different. And finally, Lok Satta wants to pursue ethical politics and opposes vote buying and short-term freebies.
He disclosed that the Lok Satta Party has decided to extend unconditional support to the Aam Aadmi Party in the Dehi elections.
Replying to a question on formation of Telangana State, Dr. JP said the Lok Satta stood for an amicable, comprehensive and permanent solution. Whether the State is divided or kept united, the concerns of aggrieved people should be addressed and resolved. Dr. JP pointed out that protagonists on either side of the current great divide have roused false hopes and fuelled unnecessary fears. Formation of a separate State will neither be a panacea nor a catastrophe, he added.
State Lok Satta Party President Katari Srinivasa Rao recalled the Lok Satta fought against malpractices at petrol bunks and facilitated easy enrolment of voters. The Lok Satta played a key role in the launch of the National Rural Health Mission, cancellation of the 2 G spectrum licenses, thwarting of the move to provide immunity to convicted legislators from being disqualified, and the Nirbahaya law enactment.
Lok Satta Party leaders D. V. V. S. Varma, Ravi Maruth, N. Saroja Devi, Y. Sivaji and Dosapati Ramu took part in the get-together with the media.