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Press Releases Archive

Lok Satta to decide on election strategy

To be or not to be part of an electoral alliance with any party?

That is the question the Lok Satta Party is to wrestle with at a two-day brain-storming session of its State Working Committee.

The Lok Satta Party, which came into existence on October 2, 2006 pledging to usher in new politics that revolve round people and not leaders, believes that people all over the country are thirsting for change. For more than five decades, they have been regularly going to the polling booth and casting their vote and electing one party or the other to power. Although people have been changing the players every five years, there has been no transformation in their lives by and large.

It is because politicians of traditional parties have turned politics, once a noble profession, into a money-making machine. They invest crores of rupees to get elected so that they can earn many times more than their investment in umpteen ways ranging from award of contracts to transfer and posting of officials. In their bid to get elected, traditional party politicians perpetuate dynastic tendencies, use money and muscle power, ensure free flow of liquor, exploit caste and religion and offer sops and freebies.

The Lok Satta Party came into existence at a time the people are steeped in despair and despondency over their inability to change the state of affairs. The Lok Satta tells the people there is no reason why they should feel helpless since they have the most powerful weapon of vote in their hands to change their destiny. Utilize the next election to write a new chapter in your lives, says the Lok Satta.

Against such a backdrop, the Lok Satta is grappling with the question of electoral alliances. It cannot align itself with either the ruling Congress or the Opposition Telugu Desam, which epitomize rotten politics in the country. The new party Praja Rajyam floated by movie star Chiranjeevi, to all intents and purposes, is following in the footsteps of traditional parties ranging from the admission of questionable elements into the party to the use of money power for demonstrating its support base.

The Lok Satta Party has made it plain repeatedly that it alone cannot transform politics and it is prepared to join hands with like-minded forces. It is ready to enter into an alliance with any party which pledges not to use money and liquor to induce voters, not to field criminals and the corrupt in elections and not turn people into mendicants.

The Lok Satta Party will evaluate the situation prevailing in the State and arrive at a decision in the next two days.

The party will also be focusing its attention on conducting organizational elections from the mandal to the State level by secret ballot and set an example to other parties on the virtues of internal democracy.

Thursday, December 4, 2008 - 08:44

Money power in politics is more dangerous than terrorism

PAC manipulated to bury Yellampalli corruption
Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today charged the ruling Congress with brazenly manipulating PAC proceedings to sweep an instance of monumental corruption in the Yellampalli project under the carpet. In the process, the ruling party has made a mockery of the Legislature and the Comptroller and Auditor General, both of which are supposed to act as custodians of public money.

Addressing the media, Dr. JP recalled that Mr. N. Sanjeeva Reddy resigned as Chief Minister in the late 1960s when the High Court merely observed that his decision to nationalize certain bus routes was arbitrary. There was no allegation of corruption. “These days we have to live with Governments which ignore allegations of even blatant corruption pointed out by investigative agencies, the media and the Opposition.”

The Parliamentary system provided for the formation of a Public Accounts Committee to oversee the spending of public money by the Government. By tradition dating back to decades, a member of the Opposition always headed the PAC to ensure that a Government enjoying brute majority in the legislature does not ride roughshod over it,

The CAG, an independent constitutional authority, had pointed out certain irregularities in the execution of the Yellamappli project on River Godavari ranging from upward revision of estimates to quality of materials used. As per the CAG, the Government has incurred a loss of Rs. 349.85 crores due to excess payment to the contractor. The PAC was expected to debate the report and arrive at a conclusion.

Dr. JP said that the PAC meeting was convened in the absence of the Chairman belonging to the main opposition party. Contrary to all traditions, it chose a member of the ruling party, that too of the Lower House, to preside over its proceedings and declared the Yellampalli project matter as closed.

“The indecent haste with which a serious matter involving abuse of public money is disposed of by a committee which gave a goby to all norms and traditions undermines people’s faith in the democratic process. Legislators seem to think they are not accountable to the public as they bought their way into the House with money and liquor.”

Dr. JP said that PAC members brazened out the Yellampalli controversy believing that might is right on a day brave Indian military and police personnel were shedding blood to save the nation from the all-out terrorist assault on the financial capital of India. “Such crassness merely accentuates the disenchantment of the youth and middle classes from politics.”

Dr. JP said Yellamapalli constituted merely the tip of the iceberg of corruption. “It is common knowledge that estimates are inflated to astronomical proportions so that the booty can be shared by politicians and officials. There are many instances of a contract changing hands five or six times before the final sub-contractor executes a project at 1/6th of the original cost. In one instance, a contractor who won the bid for a Rs.1500-crore project could clear his loans to financial institutions overnight by entrusting the execution of works to sub-contractors for huge commissions.

Dr. JP said that “so long as politics is practiced as a business proposition, it does not matter which party comes to power. The need of the hour is an all-out assault on money power in politics which is more dangerous than terrorists and RDX.”

Monday, December 1, 2008 - 23:20

Dr. JP lists five measures for tackling terrorism

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today appealed to all political parties to refrain from indulging in blame game for the terrorist attack on Mumbai but focus on what should and could be done straightway to preserve India as a nation. "If India ceases to be a union of States as enshrined in Article one of the Constitution because of terrorism, we won't be left with any Constitution or fundamental rights."

In a media statement, Dr. JP pointed out that India is next only to Iraq in experiencing the largest number of terrorist strikes in the last three years. And nowhere in the world have so many people fallen victim to terrorism as in India in the last 25 years."

"Contemporary history, therefore, tells us that terrorism will continue to pose a threat to India for many, many years to come since it cannot be exorcised overnight," said Dr. JP and listed five measures that should be taken to tackle it.

First, a federal agency should be constituted to deal with terrorism all over the country by integrating the services of India's internal and external, and national and State intelligence agencies. Rapid action forces, comprising well-trained personnel, should be stationed at all important and vulnerable places for deployment at short notice. Politicians and State Governments of all hues should subsume their narrow political interests in the larger goal of preserving India as a nation.

Second, all politicians should realize that extraordinary situations warrant extraordinary measures. They should support a vigorous and aggressive drive against all forms of terrorism and all perpetrators, without unnecessarily dragging religion into the picture. Terrorism knows no religion. A strong law is needed to reconcile the imperative of the national security with the freedom we enjoy. We cannot weaken security agencies by inadequate laws, slow investigation and unending trials.

Third, all political parties, setting aside their narrow, partisan electoral interests, should facilitate the issue of national identity cards to all Indians. "We have the technology and resources to turn the proposal into a reality in a very, very short time."

Fourth, there should be a broad consensus on ensuring secular and skills-oriented education to every child born in the country. Children from poor and hapless families, who are drawn to 'madarsas,' are denied modern education including science, mathematics and English. Even as they reach their teens, terror outfits recruit some of them to carry out their nefarious designs.

Finally, politicians should pledge that they would not interfere with the functioning of the security agencies. "Our forces have repeatedly demonstrated they can deliver provided their hands are not fettered. But unfortunately, incompetent and corrupt leadership has been demoralizing the security agencies. "We cannot delink India's vulnerability to terror from the failure of political leadership." In the 1993 Bombay blasts, RDX was imported by bribing corrupt customs officials. Weak, incompetent and corrupt leadership is now allowed to rise in the system at the cost of national security and public good. Short term political considerations are playing havoc with national security and public safety. People have contempt for our leadership, and the legitimacy of state is eroded. We can safeguard our nation only when we change the image of government and restore the trust of citizens.

Dr. JP said he was proud that all wings of the armed forces, the State, city and central police and other agencies have risen to the occasion with effective coordination among themselves in handling the Mumbai terror fallout. "By leading from the front and making the supreme sacrifice in the onslaught against terrorists the Mumbai police top brass have excelled both in life and death."

Dr, JP conveyed his grief over the death of innocent people and police personnel and conveyed his condolences to their families.

Friday, November 28, 2008 - 21:35

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Friday, November 7, 2008 - 12:16