Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Dr.JP's Letter to Chandrababu Naidu

Date: 07.07.2009

Sri Chandra Babu Naidu,
Telugu Desam Party,

I read the news reports that you have agreed to a public debate with Lok Satta Party on the issues your party has been raising about Lok Satta. Lok Satta has always held that reasoned public debate is the essence of democracy. I therefore congratulate you on your readiness to debate and welcome your decision.

I am prepared to debate with you in a reasoned and civilized manner all issues relevant to the public. Your party men and you seem to question the rationale for Lok Satta Party’s emergence. You have also questioned our fund raising and utilization of resources in the recent electoral campaign. You have argued that Lok Satta Party is acting in concert with ruling party in the state. You have raised questions integrity and public morality. I am ready to debate with you all these issues pertaining to you party and Lok Satta.

Therefore the following four main themes seem to be appropriate for a civilized public debate between the two of us.

1. Issues of public morality and integrity.
2. Nature of politics practised by both parties.
3. Mobilization and utilization of political funds by the respective parties.
4. Public policies adopted by both parties.

I suggest that there should be one or more public debates, each of 90 minutes duration with a moderator chosen from the Union of Working Journalists by mutual consent. The debate will be on an agreed format, with both participants having equal time to respond to a question, with a right to rebut. We will both take questions asked by an invited panel of journalists, with time limits fixed for each reply. I will refrain from personal attacks unrelated to public work. The debates will be telecast live.

Only invited journalists and media persons will attend the debates. You may like to constitute a person or team to finalize the format of the debates and other details with a team I will be constituting immediately.

Meanwhile, I have firmly advised all my colleagues in Lok Satta Party not to resort to personal attacks or provocative actions. At all times both sides should maintain the highest standards of dignity and decorum. So far, I have never leveled a personal allegation against you or any other political leader of any party in the country. Lok Satta Party and I wish to maintain the same standards of decorum in future also.

This initiative of a reasoned, honest public debate will be a watershed in our political evolution as a democracy. I am sure other parties will soon emulate us, and it will eventually alter the nature of public discourse and political culture in India.

I urge you to initiate action at the earliest in order for the debates to take place as soon as possible. Meanwhile, please be assured of civility and all courtesies due to you from my part.

Thanking you,

Yours Sincerely,

Jayaprakash Narayan

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