Lok Raj Sangathan (Makkalatchi Iyakkam) Chennai organized a meeting on 6th of June to analyse the "2006 Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections" that took place in May. Activists and leaders of Lok Raj Sangathan, Unorganized Workers Federation, Communist Ghadar Party of India, Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangh, Civil & Democratic Rights Organization, Indian Action Forum, Tamil Nadu Manual Workers Union, Fishermen Defense Committee, All India Construction Workers Union, Senthamizh Social Thoughts Center participated in this meeting. The meeting was chaired by Shri T.S.Sankaran, Honorary Chairperson of Lok Raj Sangathan..
Participants expressed their views on how the recent elections were held and how people were denied means to participate in the election process. They also put forward tasks to establish real people’s power.
Following were the key points that emerged in the meeting:
Recent elections were held at a time when lakhs of workers and peasants are suffering due to unemployment, price rise and globalization through privatization and liberalization programs. In the elections that took place under such terrible conditions for the people, none of the major political parties presented any real alternative program to resolve the situation.
This election also once again highlighted the serious deficiencies in the electoral process. The large size of constituencies do not offer any possibility for the voters to personally get to know the candidate and on the basis of which to decide on their representative. Neither do the people in the constituencies have any power to determine who should contest the elections. It is the big political parties which dominate the electoral arena and prevent the voice of the people from being heard. The elected representatives are answerable only to their parties, but not to the people who have elected them. People have no right or power to punish or recall the elected candidates whom they have voted to, if they do not resolve their problems or indulge in anti people activities. In this so called democracy, the "recognized" parties are given various privileges such as allotment of time in TV and radio media. Whereas, such opportunities are denied to others contesting same elections. Thus, a level playing field is denied by the present democratic system which is supposed to provide equal opportunity to everyone! Participants felt that the current political system denies the opportunity for experts in each field getting represented. Due to various such issues in the current setup, some people do not even vote. The current political process is so organized that even with 5 to 10 percent of the votes, one can get elected as the representative.
Under these circumstances what kind of political changes are needed to bring people to power? Workers, peasants and other oppressed people should demand radical changes in the political and electoral process so that they can directly rule this country. If such an initiative is not taken, then political power will always remain in the hands of criminal political parties and gangsters and the people behind them.
The Tamil Nadu Yatra that LRS has organized together with Unorganized Workers Federation and National Alliance of Peoples Movement and 51 other organizations in November 2005, has served to raise the consciousness among the people for achieving people’s power and opposing the globalization, privatization and liberalization policies of the ruling elite. Many of the speakers wanted this program to be taken forward now to the villages and towns of all districts.
It was decided to organize a day’s conference in Chennai to discuss the detailed program and organizational details for taking up the next stage of the movement for people’s empowerment. It was also decided to invite all the organizations who are interested in breaking the current impasse and working towards the empowerment of the people.