To all activists and well wishers of LRS
May 15, 2009, New Delhi:
The General Elections to elect the 15th Lok Sabha have just been completed.
The All India Council of LRS had decided at its last plenary meeting on March 1, 2009 to vigorously intervene in these elections to put forth the peoples agenda for a thorough going renewal of the political system and electoral process to ensure that power vests with the people, and thrust of the economy is reoriented to ensure that well being of all is guaranteed.
The All India Council prepared the manifesto of LRS based on the experiences and continued discussion on the political process, basic rights and demands of the people. This manifesto was released for the General Elections for further debate and political discussion. The discussion was spread widely to different parts of the country in different languages — Hindi, English, Punjabi and Tamil. Meetings of activists were held in different places to discuss the issues raised in the manifesto. With great enthusiasm, activists took up the task of involving masses of people in political discussion and decision about what is to be done.
We actively worked to encourage the process of people’s committees selecting and electing candidates. It is a matter of great significance that three members of the All India Council of the LRS were selected by people’s samitis in different parts of the country to contest these elections as their own candidate. These three candidates, all hailing from the working class and all established fighters for the rights of working people, stood as peoples’ candidates in Mumbai (south), Kanyakumari and Delhi (South) parliamentary constituencies.
These three constituencies — ranging from Kanyakumari at the tip of our country where the Indian Ocean and the Arabian sea meet; Mumbai South which is considered the most prestigious constituency of the financial capital of our country, and South Delhi, in the capital of our country had varying population features and specificities.
South Delhi is a vast constituency with a substantial working class population drawn from migrants from all across the country, as well as a rural population. It is a mix of people from all over India.
Mumbai South is a constituency with great divergences. It includes the traditional working class areas of Worli and Deslilse Road, the quarters of dock and rail workers. It also includes the up market areas of Mumbai, and the heart of the business and trading districts.
Kanyakumari in Tamilnadu is a constituency with rubber plantation workers, fisher folk, traders and other sections of workers, as well as small peasantry. It is a constituency that stretches from the mountains to the seas.
Taking cues from the political orientation provided by the LRS manifesto, each of the peoples’ candidates worked on his own individual manifesto fighting for solutions to the problems in their areas. The mass campaign of the peoples’ candidates correctly challenged and contested the domination of money power and the so-called recognized parties and the corporate media which worked overtime to lower the level of political discourse.
In Mumbai South, tens of thousands of copies of the manifesto of Suryakant Shinge were distributed and discussed in Marathi, Hindi, Urdu, Telugu and English.
In Delhi South, lakhs of copies of the manifesto of Birju Nayak was taken up for discussion, in Hindi and English.
In Kanyakumari, tens of thousands of copies of the manifesto of T. Wilson were distributed in Tamil.
Through dozens of public meetings and hundreds of street corner meetings; our activists raised the level of political discussion among the people highlighting the necessity for people’s power.
The campaign of these people’s candidates drew enthusiastic support from a number of working class, parties and unions and people’s organisations, as well as enlightened individuals from different walks of life. People contributed in different ways — endorsed this new politics by participating in the daily campaign after their working hours, by contributing money, and by propagating amongst their peers the necessity to support the struggle for the rule of the people.
Ordinary working people, women and youth, came forward boldly to express their support for the campaign. In a public meeting in one of the working class colonies of Mumbai, the local authorities tried to sabotage the meeting by denying electricity connection. This was done at the instigation of some leaders of ruling class parties, who feared the success of the meeting. Immediately, working class families in the area came forward to give a connection from their homes, and the lighting and sound arrangements were taken care of. Four women workers from this colony came forward to the stage to declare their complete support for Comrade Suryakant Shinge, the people’s candidate.
In the different regions, young boys and girls came forward enthusiastically to volunteer in the campaign. They learnt from the older activists, and in turn, they rubbed off their boundless energies on them.
In all the constituencies, we saw innumerable instances of activists, cutting across party lines, coming forward both publicly and privately to express their support for the peoples initiative. It was, they said in their own words, a partial fulfillment of their own longings.
Young activists created and kept the website of the individual candidates updated. They developed innovative forms of propaganda to take the politics of the LRS and of the candidates to the people.
With tremendous enthusiasm, youthful volunteers worked from the wee hours of the morning to late at night, taking the manifestos of the candidates to the people.
The intervention of LRS through this campaign with its politics in these elections was like a gust of fresh air amidst unbelievable heat and dust! It is a new quality. We must together nurture this precious force for building the alternative people’s power.
Now, with the results of the elections due, the coalition politics and political huckstering has begun, as predicted.
The work we and other organisations have begun for empowering the people, in organising them and making them conscious, has prepared us to face the challenges. We must and will take forward the struggle in defence of the human rights, democratic and national rights of our people, including the right to rule themselves.
With sincere regards,
President (Lok Raj Sangathan)