Activists reject capitalist, communal, criminal and corrupt politics
The activists have launched a 'chunaav par nazar' abhiyaan to reject politics which is based on capitalism, communalism, caste, corruption or criminalization.
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) has launched this 'chunaav par nazar' abhiyaan to mobilize public opinion to increase transparency and accountability in the forthcoming 15th Lok Sabha elections in India.
Election dates for the 15th Lok Sabha have been announced and there is again a huge challenge before us to ensure that the real issues of people are buried by political rhetoric. All the existing and newly forming political fronts, if anything, have a most striking similarity with amoebas - whether it is the 1st Front or the 4th Front. It is impossible for people to grasp where a front stands either on issues or vis-à-vis other parties/fronts, whether they are independent fronts or fronts within fronts! Whatever little difference did exist between so-called 'communal and secular' parties or 'capitalist and socialist' parties is visibly diminishing day-by-day.
It is, therefore, highly important, for us, people's movements and organizations to raise basic and burning issues on the one hand as well as enable an opportunity to link up local and regional issues and struggles with the national.
During the Meeting of the National Conveners of NAPM held at Nagpur on the 1st and 2nd March, we had discussed our role during the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. We decided to organize the preparatory meetings at the earliest, as the poll dates are nearing and this process must be taken forward on a war-footing. The following key issues are being discusses during the state meet:
- Compliance with the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) for candidates and political parties as defined by the Election Commission of India.
- Analyse the records of the present member of parliaments (MPs) by trying to identify MPs with criminal record, involvement in corrupt practices, involvement with casteist and communal organizations, working as the frontman of any corporate or builder group and bring these facts into the public domain.
- Monitoring the existing property of candidates, income, the number of vehicles, amounts spent on literature, campaign material, advertising and other propaganda.
- Group/ State Unit should prepare the list of general malpractices during elections such as distribution of cash, kind, liquor, booth capturing, delivering communal/ casteist speeches, rigging of votes, making false promises or allurements etc. It may be re-stressed that after announcement of elections, no declaration of new schemes can be made by the state/ central Government ministries or politicians.
- Use the right to information Act (RTI) extensively to find out how many complaints were received during the last Assembly/ Parliamentary elections and the action taken on the complaints.
- Prepare a format to make complaints to the Returning Officer of the Lok Sabha constituency: Election Observer, State Election Commissioner (SEC) Member-in-charge of the State from the Election Commission of India, Delhi and also the Superintendent of Police of the District
- Bring together a state level Committee to observe elections and distribute work amongst the Committee.
- You may send a list of the NAPM Election Observers (from each state) to the Election Commission of India along with a letter to the State Election Commission for associating these persons in the election monitoring process to ensure free and fair elections. A delegation of the NAPM (State) Election Monitoring Committee can meet the SEC and maintain regular communication with him.
Methodology during the pro-people election watch campaign:
i. Details of the announced candidates of various political parties must be compiled.
ii. Fixing up of a date with the candidates for open discussion with the electorate (Try to call the candidate for a public meeting in the area). Obtain the oral and written commitment of candidates on specific laws and policies/issues.
iii. Prepare few people with questions about the common problems issues and problems like: displacement and rehabilitation, social security to unorganized sector workers, right to housing, water, unemployment, need for health services, schools, public rationing, better public transport, commitment to ban liquor etc.
iv. Prepare a list of speakers who will address the gathering on behalf of NAPM after the Q&A Session is over with candidates.
v. We request people's groups in the state to send us a brief summary of national as well as local/ regional issues that must highlighted during the campaign at the meeting in your area, along with soft copies of the manifestos of the parties contesting elections there.
vi. Prepare a note for need of the various electoral reforms on behalf of NAPM state unit. Nationally, identify at least 10-15 candidates / black list them to demonstrate what kind of politics we reject. (Politicians like Kamal Nath, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Sharad Pawar and others are to be questioned – add to the names please)
vii. NAPM has its People's Resolve, which is more or less the NAPM manifesto which needs to be publicized and presented during our aforesaid programmes and meetings. Any of you can propose or add anything specific to the Manifesto and use it in the meetings / dialogues. Please do send your suggestions to the below mentioned emails.
'chunaav par nazar' yatra
At least one major city / capital is planned to be covered in different states, which shall include a meeting with representatives of people's organizations, a press conference and a public meeting.
We also propose to organize a travelling poster exhibition and also have documents already prepared by Election Watch plus comparative analysis of party manifestoes (2004 and 2009) along with a People's Manifesto by NAPM. The posters would also contain data on various unlawful and unethical antecedents of candidates/ parties.
We will have with us at different places, former Advisor to the Election Commission of India, Shri K. Jagannatha Rao, along with mass-based people's representatives, thinkers and conscience-keepers such as you to address the mass gathering of people and also the press, which certainly create a positive impact.
Justice (Retd.) Rajinder Sacher, Trilochan Sastry, Association for Democratic Reforms, Sharad Chadra Behar, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Prof. Ramdayal Munda, Senior adivasi rights activists, Former Vice Chancellor, Birsa Munda University, Ranchi ,Meher Engineer (West Bengal) President, Indian Social Science Academy,Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Economist and supporter of people's movements, Ulka Mahajan, Sarvahara Jan Andolan and NAPM , Arvind Kejriwal, Right to Information Activist, Parivartan, Gautam Bandopadhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Medha Patkar, National Convenor, NAPM and some other Convenors and Members of NAPM have confirmed their presence at different places. Other special invites are yet to finalize.
It would undoubtedly strengthen the process if you can join this effort from one or two places at least and raise the people's agenda before the elections. It would also greatly help, if you can in whatever way, try to mobilize resources for the campaign, which would include travel expenses, amounts for stationery and poster material etc.
Attached with this Note is a tentative schedule of the list of cities / places to be covered in the coming few weeks of April before the Phase I of the Lok Sabha Elections. We look forward to your support and involvement.
Anand Mazgaonkar: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Medha Patkar: phone - 09423965153 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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