The All India Council of Lok Raj Sangathan met in Mumbai on July 23. Over 60 members including Justice H. Suresh, Prof Dalip Singh, Prakash Rao and others attended the meeting. Delegates from Kanpur, Mumbai, Thane, Pune and Delhi actively took part in the deliberations, while several members who were unable to attend the meeting sent messages containing their views.

The Council discussed and greatly appreciated the report presented by the Convenor Prakash Rao, which contained an incisive analysis of the situation in India and internationally in the context of which LRS is developing work for the empowerment of people.

Members made well argued interventions from the floor. Drawing from their own experience, they spoke on various happenings like the bomb blasts in Mumbai and Srinagar, as well as the harassment of ordinary people and especially Muslims as part of the so-called war against terror. They took note of the deepening agrarian crisis, as well as the increasing attacks on working people through privatization and globalisation, including recent developments like the Special Economic Zones. On the aggressive course of US imperialism, many pointed to the danger in the policy of so-called pre-emptive action that the US has taken in Afghanistan and Iraq, and which it is now threatening Iran and others with. They pointed to the danger of India being dragged into it by the Indo-US strategic alliance that the UPA government is implementing.

Members also commented on the weaknesses in the people’s movement, especially the damage done by the parliamentary left, which says it opposes various anti-people moves of the government like privatization and SEZs, but actually capitulates to and collaborates with the government saying “there is no alternative”. This leaves the movement divided and weak at precisely the moment when it should actually strike harder to achieve its immediate goals.

The work carried out by various branches of LRS during the last three months was reported. A number of specific initiatives were taken by LRS in different parts of India. Among the major initiatives, the initiative of LRS Chennai, Kanyakumari, Mumbai, Thane, Delhi and Rajasthan were noteworthy. The work of the LRS in Tamil Nadu to expose the political process and work towards building an alternative is drawing increasing support from different sections of society. In Mumbai and Thane, LRS has been active in building lok raj samitis that take up the issues of the people. LRS has also actively participated in and supported the struggle of junior doctors and various agitations by airport and railway workers. In Delhi, LRS provided leadership to residents of Transit Camp who were facing the danger of imminent demolitions. LRS has also been actively involved with the resident welfare associations in Delhi in their struggle against privatization of electricity and water, as well as with the struggles of small shopkeepers against sealing of their shops. Several of these struggles have achieved partial success.

The challenge in front of LRS is to take the discussion on the political process and political system and the alternative to the existing state of affairs widely to the people. This is the central thread around which the work in the immediate future has to be organized.

The report of the Convenor was adopted and passed unanimously.

The financial report of income and expenditure of all the branches of LRS was presented and approved.

The council at the end of the deliberations resolved to work harder in different parts of India to increase the membership of the organization and build the local people’s committees. It was resolved to work vigorously to unite with other organizations fighting to defend the human, democratic and national rights of the people through joint actions, campaigns and exchange of views. An important proposal was made to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the first war of Indian independence of 1857 with activities that bring out the revolutionary democratic traditions of the Indian people and that help to bring forward the unfinished agenda of 1857, that is, the need for the Indian people to take political power into their own hands.

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