The present political, economic and social situation in our country has been deteriorating so fast
that the ordinary people of our country are facing such hardship and uncertainty as has not been experienced by them till now. On top of this is the forthcoming elections to several state assemblies and a little later to the Lok Sabha. This has activated the politicians and political parties to make alliances and deals which undoubtedly will worsen the situation as far as the common man and woman are concerned. How do we as ordinary men and women of this country deal with the situation where political parties can no more be trusted and the elected representatives have by and large failed the people?
To discuss these matters, Makkalatchi Iyakkam (Lok Raj Sangathan) of Chennai invited representatives of several organizations which are equally concerned, to a brain storming session on the 18th September at Chennai. The meeting was attended by persons from over fifteen organisations including Unorganised Workers Federation, National Association of Peoples Movements, Jammat-e-Islami Hind and others.
Initiating the discussions, Thiru T S Sankaran (Honorary Chairperson, Lok Raj Sangathan) referred to the dissatisfaction and discontent among various sections of the people of our country over the Indo-US Nuclear Deal, the ever increasing prices of all essential commodities, the frightening rates of inflation which wipe out even the hard earned savings of people, the agricultural crisis driving the hard working and self respecting farmers even to suicide, the taking away of productive agricultural land for Special Economic Zones for the benefit of Indian and foreign money bags and speculators, the proposed Coastal Management Zones that will undoubtedly affect the lives and livelihood of millions of our fisherfolk, the increasing evidence of corruption in all institutions of our State, the pursuit of economic reforms in support of globalisation through privatisation and liberalisation and a host of other isues. Not one of these has any sanction of the people as the existing political system and the electoral process has marginalised the common people and the only way out is for the people themselves to capture political power so that peoples’ needs and wishes will have primacy.
In the discussions that followed, several speakers endorsed the above analysis and pointed out the need for the workers and peasants along with the youth and women of our country to organise themselves as a strong political force, if not as a political party to wrest power from the existing political parties .The opinion was also expressed that bomb explosions and the like were only attempts on the part of the powers that be to divert the attention of the people from the main problems faced by them. It was also recognised that the present governments both at the centre and the states function only at the bidding of and for the benefit of the rich and powerful, at the same time misleading the people by shedding crocodile tears about the poor and throwing occasional crumbs at them by way of some ‘welfare’ scheme or other. The sooner they are replaced, the better will be the condition of the poor and the needy. It was also felt necessary to amend the existing law to be amended to enable voters to recall an elected representative who has failed to fulfil the promises made by him or his party at the time of elections.
After further discussions it was agreed that the discussions must be continued at the level of each district and lower down. It was also agreed that a manifesto on behalf of the people will be prepared by a small committee at its next meeting on the 11th October and circulated along with a suggested plan of action regarding putting up of people’s candidates and for mobilising public opinion among the people through out the state. It was recognised that with effective peoples participation, elections need not and will not be the costly affair that had been the norm till now.