Elections to the local government bodies in Tamil Nadu took place on October 13th and 15th. Elections were held to the various corporations, municipalities, town panchayats, district panchayats and village panchayats.
Lok Raj Sangathan along with other organizations conducted a massive campaign to select and elect people’s candidates for the TN panchayat elections, as well as expose the limitations of the present political and electoral process in genuinely enabling the participation of people in governance. The joint statement brought out by LRS along with the Unorganised Workers Federation and NAPM pointed out that people are completely marginalized in the present political process and advanced several far reaching demands for the thorough overhaul of the present political process. (Click here for Joint Statement)
In Tuticorin district, activists of the Lok Raj Sangathan along with those Tamil Nadu Peasants Union and other organizations of workers and peasants went from village to village and distributed leaflets and held meetings. The leaflets highlighted the demands of the peasants of the district and demanded that the state government should implement its election promises.
In Kanyakumari district, activists of the Lok Raj Sangathan, the Communist Ghadar Party of India and the Kanyakumari District General Workers Union conducted a massive door-to-door campaign to highlight current issues of concern to the people and put forward demands in order to bring them to the centre-stage of decision making.
During the campaign, people’s candidates for filing nominations were selected by the people of the constituency displaying a break with the backward tradition of bosses of big political parties deciding who should file nominations without any regard for the concerns and interests of the people. These people’s candidates also pledged to work for the interests of the people, to demand fundamental reforms in the political process to eliminate money and muscle power and also defend the rights of people to life, livelihood, shelter, health and education.
The campaign of LRS and the joint front evoked a massive response from the constituent members. Braving tremendous odds, and campaigning boldly against the might of the big political parties and their goondas, the people’s candidates created a refreshing awareness on how people can fight to become empowered. The novel perspective they offered on what people should demand to make local government bodies work in the interests of the people, won tremendous praise and support.
LRS pledges to take this work forward in the coming period. One of the tasks that LRS proposes to take up is the setting up of constituency committees in the area. These committees will be selected and elected by the members of the constituency. They will have representatives from organizations of workers, peasants, women, small entrepreneurs and youth in the area. The constituency committees will enable the setting of tasks and regular monitoring of the elected representatives from the area. These committees will work towards the real empowerment of the people by initiating ideas for programs, policies and legislation in the interest of the members of the constituency.