Why Lok Raj Sangathan?
- We are unable to influence public policy decisions that affect our lives
- We are fed up of being vote banks to legitimise the rule of a selfish minority
- Rights of individuals and collectives are trampled in the mud
- Those in power are the most brazen in violating the people’s rights
- We want to have a say in setting the course for society
- We are fed up with parties that commit crimes to gather votes
- We are fed up with a system of party rule that keeps people out of power
- We need an organisation that works to innovate a modern democratic political process where people are the rulers and parties work to keep the people in power
- We need an organisation that would unite the diverse currents of opposition to the existing party system of governance and weld it into one political force that can bring about fundamental change
- We need a non-partisan instrument with which the people can become the rulers of India
Lok Raj Sangathan is a political organisation of a new type, whose mission is to vest sovereignty in the hands of the people.
Lok Raj Sangathan is an all-India organisation that was established in May 1998. It came into being in response to the widespread demand and desire of the people of India to take control of their own lives, and not leave it in the hands of self-serving politicians and narrow-minded parties of vested interests.
A very small elite in Indian society takes major decisions that affect the lives of over 100 crore people. The elite decides to amend the Patent Laws in line with WTO advice, reform foreign investment and other economic policies in line with World Bank advice, and to build a military and strategic alliance with the United States. People suffer the consequences of such decisions. They are the victims of decisions in which they have no say, even though it is supposed to be a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.
The aim of LRS is to take political power out of the hands of the exclusive elite where it rests now, and vest it in the hands of the people, where it rightfully belongs. Its aim is to spearhead the establishment of such a system of society where the people would be guaranteed their rights and the State would carry out its duty of ensuring prosperity and protection for all. Its aim is to bring about such changes in the system of democracy and the political process that will ensure that it is the people who exercise power, while parties play an enabling role.
LRS is neither a party that wants to keep power in its own hands, nor is it a non-political society. It is a mechanism for people in different walks of life and in different regions to unite on a non-partisan basis and prepare to become the rulers and decision-makers in society. It is a vehicle for the people to become politically active in a constructive way, without becoming vote banks for this or that party.
The Committee for People’s Empowerment (CPE), which was the predecessor of LRS, came into being in April 1993, in the aftermath of the destruction of Babri Masjid. It was formed by a group of human rights activists, trade union leaders, communist party activists, retired judges and retired civil servants, leaders of women’s organisations, peasant associations and youth clubs – all coming together to oppose the growing criminalisation of politics by the major parties in Parliament, headed by the Congress Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.
The CPE carried out scientific research and a broad discussion of political theory among enlightened forces, leading to the conclusion that:
the existing system and process of democracy are designed to keep the majority of people out of power. Under this system, the people hand over their sovereignty, or decision making power, completely into the hands of ‘representatives’ who are elected from among the nominees of the big parties financed by big moneyed interests.
The CPE contested the assertion of those in power that “there is no alternative” to this party dominated system of democracy imported from the west.
The establishment of Lok Raj Sangathan in May 1998 reflected the need of the people for something more than a committee that would enlighten them. It reflected the need of the people for an instrument that would empower them politically, to defend and affirm their rights, to become the rulers of society and to set its agenda.
From 1999 until 2005, LRS has carried out a wide range of activities to prepare the conditions for the people to become empowered.
LRS has spearheaded and contributed to important political campaigns, such as against India’s participation in unjust wars led by the US, against state terrorism in Manipur and communal violence in Gujarat, for punishment of the guilty in the 1984 genocide, against the privatisation of Modern Foods Limited, for constitutional guarantees and enabling mechanisms to realise the right to work, the right of the tillers to secure livelihood, and the right of all families to affordable and adequate supply of water and electricity.
LRS delegations have participated in international political events such as the mass protest against globalisation at Seattle, and subsequently in other cities.
LRS has conducted and facilitated many conferences, seminars and workshops, networking among organisations active in the struggle against the attacks on rights, and providing this struggle with philosophical and theoretical justification.
LRS has established local sangharsh samitis in various parts of the country, on a non-partisan basis, with the involvement of activists belonging to different parties and organisations. The work of building and strengthening such local organs of struggle is part of the continuing and ongoing work of LRS
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