I bring hearty greetings to all of you on behalf of Lok Raj Sangathan. You have done excellent work in the past year. The report read out by your Samiti Secretary speaks volumes about the work done in this area to fight for the rights of people and make them aware of the present political system so that they can organize to change it to serve the needs of people.
Throughout the country people are fighting for the same demands that you are fighting here – drinking water & sanitation, availability of essential supplies in ration shops, getting ration card for all households, electricity, proper roads, houses, education, health care and so on. It is a shame that even 64 years after independence our people still do not have access to essential services, which is their birthright. They have to fight for each and every small thing. Their elected representatives promise them all kinds of things during elections. But nothing changes. People remain as marginalized as ever. Sanjay Colony Samiti has struggled to change this situation. It has struggled to make people politically conscious and empower them. And you have achieved tremendous success. The people have here have won some rights – whatever is possible in this corrupt system. Most importantly all of you have created the germ of people’s power here. You have taken things in your own hand. You have demanded that your elected representative listen to you. You have to continue doing this. All the councilors, MLAs, MPs, IAS officers are actually servants of the people. They have to listen to us. They have to give us accounts. In the election of the Samiti members that happened now you can see that the entire Sabha had a right to select and elect candidates and to recall them if they had not performed the previous year. So, the sabha and samiti we have created here is no small achievement. If such samitis are set up in every corner of India then people will run the affairs of the country themselves, not the crooks who are in power now.
Our country has the 2nd largest population in the world. They say that we will overtake even China in 2020. But how do our rulers look at us? Both the Indian business houses and foreign monopolies look at India as a big market for their goods. They look at it as a place where they can make maximum profits. Countries like Greece, Portugal, Spain, etc are in severe crisis. So, international capital is moving towards India to get maximum profits. But do they care about the living conditions of the people? When there is so much unemployment in the country, when workers don’t get even minimum wages, when peasants are committing suicides because agriculture is no longer profitable, then how do these big business houses expect to sell their goods? They say India is economically the 2nd fastest growing country in the world. India has the 5th largest number of billionaires in the world. But what is the use of all this for people like us. We will be interested in this growth only when employment & wages increase, when essential services are available to every human being, when people get affordable health care, education, drinking water, sanitation, housing, clothing etc. Otherwise this economic growth is no use to us.
Elections to the assembly are going on in 5 states now. Soon, there will be municipal elections in Delhi. All the big political parties have brought out manifestos full of lies. They want us to believe that if they are elected, then whatever was not done in the last 64 years will somehow happen now! How can we believe these liars and crooks. All the papers are publishing news about how many of the candidates in UP, Uttarakhand and other states are criminals with police records. Many of them are crorepatis too. The Election Commission has set a limit of 22 lacs for each candidate. But actually they spend crores to get elected. I heard that a candidate has to pay 50-75 lacs to the party to get a ticket! When they get elected they recover all these costs and make a profit also by providing licenses to capitalists and working for their interests. This party-dominated political process has to be changed. People need to select & elect their candidates. They have a right to recall their candidate. They have the right to demand legislation that serves them. They have a right to put an end to money & muscle power in the elections. They have a right to reject political parties which divide voters on the basis of caste and religion. If we have samitis everywhere like the one we have here, then we can really do all this and turn the political process upside down.
Talking about money & muscle power, it is well known that it is the big business houses & monopolies who decide which party should form government and which individual should be ministers. They are the ones who fund elections. After elections they get their favours done by the ministers whom they appointed. Take the 2G scam for example. Big monopolies like Airtel and Vodafone got their license at dirt cheap price in the nineties during the Narasimha Rao regime. Other big monopolies like Reliance, Tatas and Birlas who entered later also got cheap licenses later. It is during the BJP regime that the present first-come-first served telecom policy was announced. In 2008, on the basis of this policy the Congress regime gave licenses to many more companies. . Mobile subscriber base shot up from 4 m in 2001 to 350 m in 2008, when the 2G auction took place. Imagine how much profit they would have made in these years, which is yet to be investigated! Those who started late like the Tatas, Ruias, Videocon, DLF and other foreign monopolies wanted a bigger slice of the pie also. The Radiia tapes revealed how these big capitalists manoeuvred with various ministers to get licenses at cheap rates. It was the Income Tax department who tapped Radiia’s phone and recorded all the hera feri going on. The income tax tapes were leaked by someone. It is not hard to guess that there is a big fight between the monopolies in getting a larger slice of the lucrative telecom market. They will go to any length for this.
The Supreme Court has revoked 122 licenses recently.It actually appears that large monopolies like Airtel, Vodafone, Reliance have gained by the Supreme Court verdict. Airtel and Vodafone control 54% of the GSM market. This exposes the fact that the Supreme Court has not taken steps against corruption, as is being widely popularized. It has strengthened the hands of existing monopolies in telecom.
All the scams, including the recent NRHM scam in UP, are pointing out that it is the present capitalist system which is the root of corruption. There is a great need for a legislation to eliminate corruption. But this legislation has to be accompanied by fundamental changes in the political process, eliminating the domination of political parties who serve the big business houses and replacing it with a people-centred political process. In this political process, the legislature, executive, bureaucracy, judiciary and other institutions will be accountable to the people.
Again I would like to reiterate that the efforts we have made here to build sabhas and samitis and educate and empower the people to fight for their demands is a tremendous initiative. This is the foundation stone for building lok raj. A day will come when there is lok raj in India and these samitis serve as the pillars of that lok raj.