Press Releases Archive

Can we walk the talk?

The recent terror attacks have shaken middle class and young India as never before. Millions have responded with grief for the senseless slaughter of innocent people, and anger at the corruption, incompetence and abject failure of politicians. The revulsion of dysfunctional politics is palpable.

Happily, this time there is a realisation that we cannot shun politics. More and more from middle classes are now registering as voters and exercising franchise. In the states that went to polls last week, people voted thoughtfully, not emotionally. There is recognition that politics shapes our future. But there is also a sense of resignation that nothing much can be expected from current politics. The only celebration on election results is seen among party workers and elected candidates.

For a nation which celebrates its elections, this quiet resignation is a reflection of minimal expectations. The moribund parties are bereft of ideas and hope. They all have been tried and tested, and all are found wanting. We can no longer pretend that one more change of government will change our lives.

This combination of rising political interest and growing despair poses a challenge and provides an opportunity. Despite a few politicians of sterling virtues, as a rule our parties are uninspiring. Mired in vote buying, competitive populism, criminalisation, sloth, divisive and vote bank politics, monumental corruption and gross incompetence, traditional parties have failed spectacularly.

We need several Gorbachevs in each major party to rejuvenate our political system from within. But hoping for such reform in parties is putting too much faith in serendipity. We cannot take such a big chance with our future as a country and as individuals. Like it or not, politics shapes the world we live in, and the future of our children. We need to be engaged.

Naoroji, Tilak, Gokhale, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Azad, Chittaranjan Das, Bose, Rajaji, Prakasam, Sarojini Naidu — all these represented the best and brightest in our society. They all entered politics, enriched our lives, and shaped our destiny. Today such people are deterred from public life. Pedigree, ill-gotten wealth, caste and criminality are the passports for political recruitment. How many Indians of ability, integrity and passion can we think of, who rose in public life without pedigree in the past two decades? If a Barack Obama seeks to contest for the state assembly in Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh, he would be summarily rejected by the traditional parties because he does not have crores of unaccounted and ill-gotten money to buy votes! Is it a surprise that our government is in shambles? If it requires great ability and dedication to run an office or company, can the nation be run by morons, crooks and political heirs?

What do we do now? The best and brightest must once again take to politics as a calling. If traditional parties are too moribund, we need to create new parties as genuine vehicles for political action. There is no escape from parties in a democracy. But we need a party platform with powerful ideas, and practising internal democracy and transparency in funds. People want change. Collectively we have a sense of what needs to be done — national security, public order, justice, rule of law, education, healthcare, skills and employment, effective markets and value addition in agriculture, rural-urban linkages, in situ urbanisation, infrastructure, a measure of social security for the poor, local governments, citizen empowerment, and zero tolerance of corruption. Past experience and global best practices offer us great lessons in accomplishing these goals. We have the resources and technology needed, if only we harness than wisely.

But we need to learn to work in teams. Petty jealousies, turf wars, and divisions must be submerged in the quest for larger goals. A genuinely democratic party must accommodate all views, and ensure discipline, synergy, competition and promotion of the truly gifted leaders. Above all a party must reconcile conflicting interests in society. If we care deeply enough, we can find realistic answers to all our vexing problems — reservations, SEZs, big projects etc. That is what true politics is about.

One special challenge today is, the idea of India is in retreat. Political India is fragmented, and there are no national verdicts. The composition of Parliament is now merely the aggregate of verdicts in states. This should change. Meanwhile, big change will have to come in metropolitan cities and one or two big states where widely respected, popular movements can influence the thinking of most people. Once we demonstrate the possibility of change in action, much of India will follow suit. We must simultaneously engage with the established parties to force the pace of change. Massive political transformation in a complex and vast nation is not easy. But it is within reach.

The time is ripe. Real and lasting change needs vision, audacity, courage, talent, patience, hard work, tact, humility, and sacrifice. Coming general elections offer us an opportunity to begin this process of change. Are we, the privileged Indians, up to the task? Can we walk the talk?

(The author is the president of Loksatta Party)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 07:52

Land acquisition by deploying police shameful: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party said today that the Government should be ashamed of acquiring land for the Kakinada SEZ (special economic zone) by deploying police. “If the farmers of Tondangi and Kothapalli mandals in East Godavari district are resisting land acquisition, the Government alone is to blame.” Talking to the media, party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder said violence normally erupted in land acquisition when farmers are not adequately compensated.

The Lok Satta leaders said controversies over allocation of huge chunks of land to SEZs underlined the need for an independent agency to determine the land needed for any project or industry planned in the SEZ. Small countries like South Korea and Israel have demonstrated that even big industries do not require thousands of acres of land as in India. “Agitations by farmers can be preempted if they are paid higher than market rates for land, given a share in the developed land and assured training and employment to at least one member of the family to be displaced.”

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 07:43

Lok Satta releases first list of Candidates for Assembly poll

The Lok Satta Party today released the first list of 35 candidates who will be contesting the 2009 Assembly elections. The list includes 21 candidates who belong to discriminated sections including women.

Releasing the list, party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan told a media meet that active members of the party had chosen the candidates taking into account their competence, leadership qualities and passion for service.

Dr. JP said the Lok Satta welcomed public spirited candidates to contest on behalf of the Lok Sabha since it was the only party which did not evaluate candidates on the basis of their caste or religion and wealth or pedigree. No competent candidate would be denied a ticket or an incompetent one issued a ticket based on his or her caste.

Dr. JP described the coming elections as a battle between those who want to continue the current corrupt political culture and those who are determined to usher in a new political culture. The party had decided to contest all the 294 Assembly and 42 Lok Sabha seats all alone since no other party could muster the courage to declare it would not induce voters with money and/or liquor and not field criminal and corrupt elements as its candidates.

Dr. JP declared that the Lok Satta believes that true social justice is achieved only by providing quality education, health care and training in skills and job opportunities to every one without reference to his her caste or religion. In contrast, the other parties are all trying to exploit caste in the name of social justice so that a select few from their castes could be provided avenues to enrich themselves at the cost of the rest of society.

Pointing out that an overwhelming majority of people were thirsting for change, Dr. JP said he had no doubt that they would stand by ‘dharma’ in the fight against ‘adharma’.

The following are the candidates:

Constituency - Candidate

L. B. Nagar - Yenugu Rama Rao

Serilingampalli - Katari Srinivas Rao

Kuthbullapur - Nandipeta Ravinder

Musheerabad - Rohit Kumar

Jublee Hills - Mrs. Pratibha Rao

Secunderabad - Mrs. Maharani

Khairatabad - Atluri Subhashini

Amadalavalasa - Tammineni Aannam Naidu

Gajapati Nagaram - Eshwar Rao

Vizianagaram - Bhisheti Appa Rao babji

Gajuwaka - Biharilal

Anakapalli - Garimella Narayana

Jaggampeta - Mrs. Kamineni Jayasri

Prathipadu - Venkata Satyaprasad Kanchustambham

Peddapuram - Karanam Venkateshwar Rao

Undi - Gottumukkala Janakirama Raju

Pamarru - Mrs. Udiga Rajamani

Vijayawada East - Koneru Venkatapurna Basaveshwara Rao

Vijayawada Central - Mrs. Jnanamba

Penumaluru - Chennupati Vazir

Giddaluru - M. Bal Ranga Reddy

Markapuram - Chittam Venkat Reddy

Nellore Town - Narra Sridhar

Guduru - Kundurti Venkata Krishnaiah

Palamaneru - Mokati Mallikarjuna

Rajampeta - Jagan Mohan Raj

Anantapur Town - Kondeti Kondaiah

Tungaturti - Srinivasa Rao Puduri

Suryapeta - Karpuram Rajender

Khammam - Raghavulu Samineni

Wyra - Undadi Narender

Paleru - Polisetti Nageshwar Rao

Warangal West - Parcha Kondanda Rama Rao

Chennuru - Mrs. Mekala Saroja

Yella Reddy - Marri Rama Reddy

Tuesday, December 23, 2008 - 09:22

Desperate Ponnala resorting to abuse: Lok Satta

The Lok Satta Party today accused Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah of resorting to personal attacks, as he could not rebut the criticism that the Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation scheme is economically unviable.

“It is only those who irresponsibly squander public money that harm public interest and not those who advocate prudence in Government spending”, Lok Satta Party spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and B. Krishna Reddy told the media.

The Lok Satta, they made it clear, is not opposed to the provision of irrigation and drinking water to the Telangana region. It is only interested in ensuring that the money is not wasted on grandiose and unviable schemes when there are viable and better alternatives.

The Lok Satta challenged the Minister for a public debate on the project on any day and forum of his choice.

Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 08:43

Lok Satta names returning officers

The Lok Satta Party has finalized the arrangements for its organizational elections with the appointment of returning officers for all districts and the cities of Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam. Mr. V. Ramachandraiah, Chairman of the Election Authority, said that nominations would be received on December 24 and 25 and elections held in the first week of January.

Following are the returning officers:

Srikakulam: A. Malleswara Rao

Vizianagaram: R. Rama Rao

Visakhapatnam: B. Krishnam Raju

East Godavari: Lakshmanacharyulu

West Godavari: K. Subba Rao

Krishna: Valluru Purnachandra Rao

Guntur: Dr. T.S Kumar

Prakasam: M. Chandrasekar Yadav

Nellore: Dr. Satyanath

Chittoor: R. MuthuKrishnan

Kurnool: Vasanthakumar

Kadapa: Rajasaheb

Anantapur: V. Vannurappa

Medak: D. Om Reddy

Khammam: R. Muralimaohan

Warangal: S. Krishna

Karimnagar: P. Kesav Rao

Nalgonda: Md. Alimuddin

Mahbubnagar: Ramachandra Goud

East Adilabad: Ch. Rajaiah

West Adilabad: L. GangaReddy

Ranga Reddy: J. Suryanarayana

Hyderabad City: J. Krishna Rao

Vijayawada City: M.S.N Murthy

Visakhapatnam City: P. Sankara Rao

Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 08:41