Lok Satta

Monday, 16 March 2009 16:59

Candidates who splurge money in elections can’t remain honest: Dr. JP

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“How can you expect a candidate who spends up to Rs.5 crore to get elected to the Assembly to remain honest and sincere and fight against corruption?”


Posing this question at a media conference, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today told all thinking people in the State that no purpose would be served if they merely grumbled in silence over the rotten and corrupt politics. “All those who love their country and concerned about the future of their children and with leadership qualities should plunge into politics and cleanse the system. Don’t we have a few hundred people in the eight crore population who could fight for justice? Please shed your silence and use the platform provided by the Lok Satta. Realize in your own interest that the silence of good people is more harmful than the evil deeds of bad people. Please stand, fight and be counted.”


Dr. JP said it was common knowledge that political parties and contestants distributed money and liquor as inducements to voters during elections. But it was difficult to prove the charges in a court of law as both the givers and recipients would not be eager to be convicted. “Now, the political parties have gone one step further by openly offering color TVs and mobile phones to voters at the cost of the Government, i.e. from the taxes collected from the public.”


Dr. JP pointed out that that the offer of TVs and mobile phones was unconstitutional. Lists II and III in the Constitution nowhere specify that color TV or mobile phone distribution is one of the States’ duties. By offering these inducements, political parties have crossed the “Lakshmana Rekha”. The Election Commission had not mustered courage to declare the promise of color TVs in the past as unconstitutional as a result of which parties are emboldened to offer more and more baits to hook voters now. “If the Election Commission does not act even now, the Lok Satta will be forced to approach the Supreme Court”, Dr. JP said.


Dr. JP quoted Gresham’s law in economics which says bad money drives away good money and said that bad politics would drive away good politics as is evident from the political parties’ attempts to try every trick in the trade to corner votes. “If we allow the traditional parties to get away with their dangerous, repulsive and illegal practices, the future of the country and of our children will be in danger.”


Dr. JP regretted that sections of media, which had once stood for Dharma, are now unabashedly backing adharma. He referred to the Lok Satta’s meeting at Ramakrishna Beach in Visakhapatnam on March 14 and said the media, which goes hysterical in reporting meetings attended by paid crowds, virtually ignored the Lok Satta meeting attended by 10,000 people on their own. “I have no grouse against journalists, most of whom are personally concerned about the country’s future. All that I appeal to you is to stand by people who are fighting against entrenched political parties. Be a part of the solution and not of the problem.”


Dr. JP referred to the TDP promise to reimburse farmers of the loans they had already repaid and said that like the Union Government’s loan waiver, the proposal would merely destroy the credit system. Political parties conveniently forgot that only 30 percent of farmers have access to institutional credit whereas 70 percent of farmers borrowed from private moneylenders at exorbitant rates of interest. A solution to the agricultural crisis lies in making available credit to every farmer and tenant. The Lok Satta’s agriculture policy provided for formation of 10,000 agri-clinics all over the State to facilitate crop planning and marketing, extension of credit to every tiller and promotion of agro industries to add value to agricultural produce. “We have the resources to implement such a policy but don’t have the political will. Traditional parties are interested in keeping farmers forever dependent on the Government and loan waivers form part of their tactics.”


Mr. K. Madhusudhana Rao, member of the party’s Election Authority, announced that Mr. B. Satyanarayana (Satish) Gowd would be fielded as the Lok Satta Party candidate from Patancheru constituency. He had trounced Mr. K. Shankara Rao in the open primary held on March 15. for the first time in the country. Of the 4413 total polled votes, Mr. Satish got 3713 and Mr. Shankar Rao 648, while 52 votes were invalid.

Dr. JP described the conduct of the primary as a golden chapter in India’s political history.