'Chunav par nazar' reaches New Delhi

'Chunav par nazar' reaches New Delhi

Travelling through Mumbai, Ghaziabad, Himachal Pradesh, Ranchi, Chindwada and raising people's issues at all these places, the Chunav par Nazar Yatra team has reached Delhi on 15 April 2009, to highlight the concerns of the lakhs of urban poor, unorganized working classes and basti dwellers as also the farmers and landless living on the periphery of Delhi, who are battling with their life in their struggle to save their lands and livelihoods from an infrastructure-hungry state and real estate hungry 'corporate'.

Thousands of farmers, landless dalits, urban basti dwellers, domestic workers, unorganized workers and other contract labourers, hawkers, residents of unauthorized colonies, pavement dwellers, pedestrians, rickshaw pullers and cyclists on unsafe roads assembled at the Lok Manch today afternoon at the Dharna Sthal of the Khanzawala Bhoomi Bachao Andolan, a 1700 old village, where farmers have been resisting all attempts by land sharks to grab their fertile agricultural lands.

Together, they joined the struggling villagers of Khanzawala, as also those of the 900 year old Tekri Kala, Karala and Tekri Khurd villages and question the political parties and candidates on what Lok Sabha Elections 2009 means for their lives and livelihoods and challenge their hollow unkept promises made in 2004 and the arbitrary land acquisition of DDA and DSIDC.

The Campaign in Delhi is a joint initiative of many people's groups including the National Alliance of People's Movements, Jan Sangharsh Vahini, National Kissan Mazdoor Federation, Delhi Solidarity Group, Bandhua Mukti Morcha, National Workers Federation, National Domestic Workers Federation, Delhi Forum, CACIM, Youth Collective, Institute for Democracy and Sustainability, Urban Women Worker's Organization, Jan Sanghash Sanyukt Morcha and other groups.

Many prominent activists, intellectuals and academics joined the Lok Manch, including Shri Sharad Chadra Behar, Former Chief Secretary, Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, Dr. Meher Engineer, President, Indian Social Science Academy, Prof. Amit Bhaduri, Economist, JNU and supporter of people's movements, Arvind Kejriwal, Right to Information Activist and Magsaysay Award recipient, Medha Patkar, National Convenor, NAPM, Prof. Ajit Jha, Professor, Delhi University, Prof Arun Kumar, Political Economist, Shri Suhas Borker, Veteran Media person and Working Group on Alternative Strategies, Rajendra Ravi, NAPM (Delhi) among others.

In different cities the campaign was also joined by Shri K. Jagannatha Rao, Former Advisor, Election Commission of India, Shri Trilochan Sastry, Association for Democratic Reforms and Dean, IIM, Bangalore, Justice (Retd.) Suresh, Mumbai High Court, Prof. Ram Dayal Munda, Former Vice Chancellor, Ranchi University, Dayamani Barla (INSAF), Dr. Sunilam, Kissan Sangharsh Samiti, Sanjay Basu Mallick, Jangal Bachao Abhiyan, Ms. Abha Singh, IAS and many others.

Smt. Krishna Teerath from the Congress Party, Smt. Meera Kavariya from the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and Shri Rakesh Hans from the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) joined the Manch and presented their party's position on people's issues.

In addition to electoral reforms proposed by us decentralization is very much necessary for a real democracy. Decisions of Basti Sabhas consisting of 3000 families in each city and those of the Gram Sabhas must be the basis of any democratic decision – making process. We, the people's organizations, who have profound faith in the Lok Satta (people's power) above the Lok Sabha have proposed a Jan Bhagidari Bill on which we invite political parties to give their comments and responses (draft available for comment).

As people's movements, using the twin methods of Sangharsh (struggle) and punar-nirman (reconstruction), we are working on the issues of development in the context of destructive displacement towards for equity and justice self-reliance and sustainability and this pre-election monitoring campaign is a part of this process. The Campaign is in Delhi today to shake the conscience of the power holders and power aspirants about their real commitment to people's everyday issues and the tall claims in their manifestos. The thousands of development-affected people are determined in their voice; Sawaal lekar aaye hai' – Jawaab lekar jaayenge'.

The campaign will travel to Bhopal from here on the 17th April 2009 and to Nandurbar (Maharashtra) on the 19th April 2009 where thousands of adivasis in the Narmada valley shall question parties on various issues including displacement, right to work, health and food among other issues affected their lives.

Nirmala Behen, Madhuresh, Aneeta Kapoor, Bhupendra Rawat, Nanhu Prasag Gupta, Medha Patkar

National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM)