Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ombudsmen to Monitor Lok Satta Activities

The Lok Satta Party, which came into existence on October 2, 2006, with the lofty ideal of ushering in a new political culture has taken a major step in that direction by opting for an Ombudsman system to monitor and guide its entire gamut of activities.

The Lok Satta is the first in the country to constitute a team of independent and outstanding people to oversee party activities.

The Ombudsmen will have the authority to monitor, inspect, advise, guide, and publicize their findings pertaining to Lok Satta Party’s organizational elections and open primary elections through which candidates to contest public office are chosen. They are empowered to look into party finances in terms of fund raising, expenditure, and accounting. The Ombudsmen will also look into the quality of the party’s public discourse and activities including forms of protest/dissent.

Sri K Madhava Rao, former State Election Commissioner and Chief Secretary, and Sri Justice Reddappa Reddy, former judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court have been invited to be the first Ombudsmen. Very soon another distinguished jurist from Telangana region will be joining the Ombudsmen team.

The Lok Satta Party, which is committed to transparency in all its activities, has posted its accounts on the Internet. It is now holding its organizational elections by secret ballot in Hyderabad city.

The Lok Satta Party believes that governance in the country cannot be improved unless political parties cleanse themselves first. Political parties, instead of being owned by the public, have become the pocket boroughs of a few politicians. Over the years, the politicians have mastered the art and science of making money for themselves and perpetuating dynastic rule to safeguard their ill-gotten wealth.

It is to fight against such political culture that the Lok Satta Party came into existence.
In its year-old existence, the Lok Satta has set an example to other parties by sticking to non-violent, democratic and constitutional forms of protest that do not inconvenience anybody. It has consciously shunned ‘bandhs’ and ‘rasta rokos’ and strikes, however provocative the issue might have been. It has stood for country’s unity and integrity and is not swayed by regional and parochial considerations whether the issue concerned sharing of river waters or reservations for deprived sections.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Lok Satta Party Pioneers Intra-party Democratic Process in India (Organizational Elections by Secret Ballot)

Lok Satta party is all set to create history on the Indian political scenario.

For the first time in India, a political party, i.e. Lok Satta party is organizing intra party organizational elections by secret ballot and preferential voting for over 50 divisions as per the constitutional norms laid down by the party.

Addressing the media at a press conference held today at the party head quarters, Dr Jayaprakash Narayan- National coordinator, said "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 critical measures institutionalized in the party's structure and functioning, which make it the harbinger of 'new politics for the new generation", he added

Speaking on the subject of a new political culture, Dr JP Narayan elucidated," All Party candidates for organization office will be chosen by the members of the party through a secret ballot. There will be affirmative action policies to promote leadership of women, youth, backward classes and minorities and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Elucidating further on the internal electoral structure, he further said," Article XXI of Lok Satta Party constitution mandates the creation of an autonomous Electoral Authority to oversee all internal party elections in the precincts of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC).

The party spokesperson chipped in further and said" The Election Authority for the city of Hyderabad will have the flexibility to constitute lower level election authorities at the level of Division to assist in the conduct of the organizational elections.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mahila Satta Condemns Attack on Journalist

The Mahila Satta, the women’s wing of the Lok Satta, today condemned the murderous attack on a rural reporter of Nalgonda district for writing about unauthorized liquor outlets and illicit distillation in his village.

Mr. Jagan, reporter for “Vaartha” Telugu daily, was stabbed on Saturday evening at Chittampadu village in Nampalli mandal of Nalgonda district. The newspaper had carried his report on women’s associations destroying liquor stocks in the village in the district edition on November 2.

Mr. Jagan was first taken to Devarakonda and later brought to Hyderabad and admitted in Yashoda Hospital here.

Mrs. E. Nagamani, Mrs. D. Saroja, Mrs. A. Subhashini, Mrs. D. Lashmi and Mrs. Y. Ramadevi, all Mahila Satta leaders, called on Mr. Jagan at the hospital and expressed shock and anger over the assault on him. They demanded that the Government take stern action against the guilty.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Metro Planning Committees Bill Does not Empower Mayor--Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today strongly criticized the provisions of the Metropolitan Planning Committees (MPCs) Bill passed by the Assembly yesterday. The party’s National Coordinator Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said, “Instead of statutorily making Mayor the Chairperson of the MPC - so that the metro city governments are truly empowered, the Bill passed by the Assembly provides for the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson to be nominated by the State Government. This will only create a new neta-babu sarkari layer and yet another defunct government body at huge public expense. It will serve the only purpose of accommodating narrow partisan interests.”

“This will inevitably lead to a further centralization of governance along with increased inefficiency and corruption. All this, while the citizens in our cities continue to suffer due to poor water supply and drainage, bad roads and street lighting in neglected colonies and dilapidated slums, and are plagued daily by the menace of mosquitoes and stray dogs, ” he said.

He explained the Lok Satta Party’s stance on this issue: “MPCs should be made the statutory authorities in-charge of all developmental activities in the metro zone including the preparation and approval of zoning and master plans. They should be empowered to collect development fees and coordinate and oversee the functioning of various public/parastatal agencies for urban development, infrastructure and amenities like water supply and sewerage, power, roads, waste management along with transport, education and healthcare. MPCs should be an integral part of the local government setup, for coordinating between the municipalities, corporation and gram panchayats in the metro zone.’

“Specifically, in the case of Hyderabad, HUDA and HMWSSB should function under the Hyderabad Metropolitan Planning Committee. Unless all city functions are brought under one umbrella, there is no city government.

“Importantly, the Mayor of the largest metro city should be made the chairperson of the MPC. MPCs’ membership should not be based on narrow, partisan considerations. Only then can they prepare, coordinate and execute complex metropolitan developmental plans.”

He pointed out that “the very fact that only 67 MLAs were present to discuss and vote on the bill, exposed the insincerity of the two major parties and lack of commitment towards genuine empowerment of metropolitan cities. Both the present ruling party and its predecessor have demonstrated, on several previous occasions, their intent not to allow the devolution of powers and resources to local and city governments in our State.”