Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Public Meeting

The public meeting on October 15 was an unqualified success. The participation was impressive – about 20,000 people from all walks of life from all over Andhra Pradesh attended the meeting. This is the first political meeting, of this magnitude, in decades, where people attended without inducements, and participated fully and enthusiastically. Not one member of the audience left until the proceedings concluded at 8:15 PM. Most television channels covered the event live, and about ten million viewers would have watched it. The major regional newspapers grasped the significance of the event and covered it prominently. There were no people seated on the dais, except the speaker at any point of time. Young persons, women, and those who suffered discrimination by birth dominated the proceedings. Most participants were young people, poor, self-employed persons, and middle-classes. Messages were interspersed by cultural events. An amount of Rs 2,08,000/- was raised by way of small, on the spot contributions.

A sample of the media coverage of the event can be accessed at http://www.loksattaparty.com/english_site/media.html. The audiovisual recording of the Party Coordinator’s speech too can be accessed at this URL. The proceedings of the entire event along with the speech of the Party Coordinator will be soon available for sale, in a CD/DVD format. Please visit www.loksattaparty.com for latest updates.

Lok Satta Party’s principles are enshrined in the Preamble to the Party Constitution, and Article II lists the Aims and Objectives. The circumstances which compelled us to take this important step are outlined in the Resolution adopted to form Lok Satta Party. The Party’s Constitution reflects the values of internal democracy, total transparency and member-control.

Apart from the Party’s agenda and vision, there are seven important measures institutionalized in the Party’s structure and functioning, which make it the harbinger of ‘new politics for the new generation’:

• Election of leadership at all levels by secret ballot, through single, transferable vote based on preferential voting. The Coordinator, the chief functionary at each level, is elected directly by all active members of the Party through secret ballot.

• A system of ‘recall’ of all office bearers is institutionalized in the Party Constitution and Rules and Regulations.

• All Party candidates for elective office will be chosen by active members in primary elections through secret ballot. There will be affirmative action policies to promote leadership of women, youth, backward classes and minorities, apart form the constitutional reservations for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. Subject to that caveat, the Party leadership can only exercise veto over candidates elected in primary election for specified reasons; but no candidate can be imposed on the Party.

• An autonomous Electoral Authority is constituted in the party to act as the custodian of membership rolls, and to conduct all elections within the Party.

• An autonomous Disciplinary Authority is constituted, with the responsibility to investigate and act on specific complaints of criminality, corruption, abuse of office, or moral turpitude.

• All funds shall be collected only in a transparent manner by cheque (except small local contributions), and with a receipt. All expenditure shall be only for legitimate purposes, and by cheque. Membership dues and small contributions are expected to constitute the bulk of the Party resources.

• The Party activities will be primarily centered around its agenda. The traditional political methods of obstructionism and agitation will be eschewed.

It goes without saying that we are nurturing new politics as a moral endeavour, not merely forming yet another political party. Our definition of victory is not merely getting into office, but heralding a new political culture and transforming the nature of governance, whether we are in power or out of it. Therefore means and ends are both critical and integrally linked. Power is merely a means, though it is our recognition that we need to be in politics to transform it which led to the formation of the Party. We are staying away from the traditional invective, populism, knee-jerk responses, intolerant attitudes, tokenism and emotionalism. Reasoned public debate, transparent decision making, informed citizen assertion, peaceful and honest reconciliation of conflicting views, and liberal, creative, humane and win-win responses are the means we apply for political mobilization.

One question often raised is, will we succeed? The more apt question is, are Indian people happy with our current politics and governance? We have no doubt that the vast majority of Indians is deeply desirous of a fundamental change in the nature of our politics and the way government functions. Therefore, we will not fail.

However, it needs a lot of patience, hard work, organization-building, and public education.This is a national endeavour. As the Party’s founding resolution states: “Lok Satta Party’s goals are national, and unity and integrity of India are of paramount concern to all of us. The new Party’s concerns will transcend religion, region, caste and language. Lok Satta Party will work with like-minded individuals and groups in all regions and states to build a nation-wide movement for a new political culture.” It is our recognition of the vastness and complexity of India, and our own limitations which compel us to focus on Andhra Pradesh for the time being. Once Lok Satta Party demonstrates that a sizeable population is in support of new politics, the conditions for a nation-wide political movement will have been created.We, therefore urge all Indians, wherever they are, to own this effort and extend all support. Formal political participation will, of course, be limited to Indian Citizens. Others can certainly provide intellectual inputs and moral support, and spread the good word. Similarly, funds can be raised only from Indian sources. Indian citizens, wherever they live, can make financial contributions. All contributions are fully tax-exempt (to the donor) under Indian Law. Indian citizens living abroad can contribute, but will get tax exemption only on Indian income. Non-resident Indians should also declare that their contribution is made from their own resources, and is not raised from foreign sources. All contributions will be acknowledged, and tax exemption documents will be furnished to them. All accounts of Lok Satta Party will be audited, and reports shall be made public.

The website ' www.loksattaparty.com ' is now in operation. It is being substantially revised to make it current, interactive and comprehensive. The site will soon have a suitable ‘online payment gateway’ to enable easy and safe donations online. Contributions may be made by Indian Citizens by cheque to ‘Lok Satta Party’, payable at Hyderabad. Non-resident Indians who wish to contribute may please wait for a short while until the mechanism is created for that purpose.There are over 800 registered political parties in India. But the creation of a serious political party with credibility and reasonable public support is a rare event. Rarer still is success of such a party in electoral terms. Rarest is significant outcome in terms of transforming politics, enlarging liberty, and promoting human happiness. Lok Satta Party is determined to make a difference in outcomes, and transform our politics. The task is too big for any group in isolation. We need your support – intellectual, moral, material, and financial to make this a truly successful endeavour. The bulk of our people yearn for a change. All we have to do is create a credible, effective and democratic platform. We will surely succeed.

With warm regards,

Jayaprakash Narayan
National Coordinator
posted by JP 10:27 AM
siva reddy said...
Dear Loksatta,

I am just wondering about membership drive and media coverage. How is it going on?
Because I cannot see any news about Loksatta in the media.

Is Loksatta neglecting the media or the media neglecting Loksatta? I am just thinking aloud.
December 19, 2006
Dear Mr.Siva Reddy,
It is good to hear from you.We are pleased to say that the membership drive is on, full steam! It has drawn excellent response and we are happy with the results.

As far as media coverage goes, we have absolutely no complaints, whatsoever!

Media coverage is important and whenever we feel the need for more publicity we will definitely do the needful.

Thank you and do keep in touch.

With warm wishes

Lok Satta Party
December 19, 2006
Anonymous said...
can we expect something from you to stop this and punish who are involved and supporting?
December 21, 2006
Passion said...
85% of people in India are desperate working slaves in an informal economy and their lives oscillate between fear and frustration.

The remaining well to do High Net Worth people in India are always in search of collusion mostly in the form of caste to enhance their wealth.

A credible minimum income guaranteed system for every one whether they work or not will bring in dignity instead of desperation for the working poor and inheritance taxes will stimulate compassion instead of collusion.

Such system will prevent all socioeconomic issues in India viz farmer suicides, dowry deaths, child labor, corruption, bribery, etc.

I request Lok Satta to include "minimum income guaranteed system" in its manifesto.

ijawahar@gmail.comDecember 30, 2006