Full text of speech by TS Sankaran, Honorary Chairperson at the 5th All India Convention of the Lok Raj Sangathan

It is heartening to see so many young people at the convention. ‘
“She speaks in 18 languages but has a single thought”!
Yesterday’s discussion reminded me of this quote from the poet Subramania Bharati.
Yesterday’s deliberations were a reflection of a single thought. Demographically we are little India here. The future of India rests with us. This thought makes me proud while addressing this gathering. Hearing the report and interventions made me realize how united we are. The unity amongst us binds us around the thought that we need to take this great country forward. Every place must have an organization of the LRS, the authority in power should know that people are taking charge. It is with this thought that we should go from the Convention, destiny must be in our hands and the day is not far when destiny will be in our hands! (applause).

There is no area where the government is seemingly even doing anything for the people. The government spends 10,000 crores for the Commonwealth Games, for image building, 15,000 crores for buying a second hand aircraft and so on. Every action of the government we must test with the question: who benefits form these actions? Be it in Lalgarh, Manipur, or the land policy, not even one of the policies, or activities is pro people. We all have witnessed the shoddy spectacle of ministry making in Maharashtra, and in Karnataka and the CM being helpless. Politically, the situation is so dismal. It is becoming clearer with each passing day that these people are not fit to govern. Only we who are sitting here representing the people can govern! (applause).

LRS in Tamil beautifully translates as movement for people’s rule. People want decision making role on local issues, on national issues. No decision is to be taken at a level where people  will not have a say. Local decision making is important. Decisions should be taken at each level by the people concerned, not at some higher level. In that spirit we will have to take this message to the people.

How are we going to take the issue of land to people? What are SEZs? Normal laws of state don’t apply there, where there is no right for workers. SEZs do not add jobs for people. Most of the existing companies are shifting into the SEZs to avail of the government’s tax benefits. So they only benefit the capitalists. By making land available for SEZs, the government is depriving the people of their land. A clear example of this is Nandigram. In Haryana, the allocation of SEZ to Reliance met with great resistance from the people.

People have a deep link with their land. Some under pressure have sold their land but the compensation dries out after some time. We should work on this issue in a concerted manner.

Yesterday somebody mentioned police action. In Tamil Nadu, we had a people’s candidate. The average expense in the state for elections by any party is anywhere between 10 cr. 60-70 cr in a constituency. Our candidate spent a mere Rs.75000/-!. He was able to get many votes. The police was worried seeing the result. The police hounded the candidate. This is violation of human rights and we need to fight against such violations. This is nothing short of state terrorism. Three years back an awareness campaign was organized from Kanyakumari to Chennai; many meetings were organized and the response was tremendous. People came and participated in large numbers at these meetings. This the state views as a threat to it existence.
The time is right to step up the momentum of our work. Let us organize, Lok Raj Samitis in every corner of this country, and let the samitis get strengthened so that they are in a position to fight. This is the only way forward to take our destiny in our hands! (applause).

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