The All India Council of the Lok Raj Sangathan met on 22nd July 2012 in New Delhi. Members from Delhi, Haryana, Himachal, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and UP were present. The meeting started promptly at 10 AM and completed its agenda just before 5 PM. A very serious and enthusiastic atmosphere pervaded the entire duration of the meeting.
The President of LRS, Shri S. Raghavan, opened the meeting and welcomed the members. At the outset, he conveyed the sad news that Prof Dalip Singh, who was elected as the Honorary Chairperson in the previous meeting of the AIC, was no more. He passed away on 22nd April in Mumbai, on the very day the 6th All India Convention of the Lok Raj Sangathan was taking place. The meeting paid homage to Prof Dalip Singh by standing in silence for two minutes. The Secretary of LRS, Prakash Rao spoke about Prof Dalip Singh’s contribution to the activities of LRS and to the movement for peoples’ rights. Speakers pointed out that in the face of state terrorism and even after he was incarcerated in jail under TADA on trumped up charges, he was not cowed down and remained active in defence of the rights of the people to end.
The President presented the agenda of the meeting which included the summing up the 6th Convention held on 22 April 2012, report of work of LRS from all parts of India, discussion and adoption of the report, LRS statements in this period and plan of work for LRS till the next AIC meeting.
Summing up the political thrust of the 6th Convention, the Secretary highlighted the fact that the issue of reforms of the electoral and political system and process, raised by LRS and its precursor organisation, the Committee for People’s Empowerment, has entered deeply into the consciousness of the active and thinking people in India. Many people are suggesting changes in the system as the elected representatives do not feel obliged to represent the people who elected them. LRS must take this work further and elaborate an alternative system.
The Secretary, Shri Prakash Rao, then presented the report of work from various regions. The report brought out the wide-range of issues and interventions that the organisation has been involved in ever expanding areas. LRS is seriously getting involved in the day-to-day struggles of the people while at the same time showing them the way forward. The report was also candid in bringing out the shortcomings of the work in some areas. He noted that while work among the people is going on very well in several regions, the meetings of various fora, such as the regional councils, and local samitis were not taking place regularly. There is also lack of regular reporting from various regions. He said that this aspect needs to be addressed in the coming period and the organisation needs to be strengthened as was also decided in the 6th Convention.
Some of the struggles which are being led by LRS were reported from Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu and were appreciated by all members. The Vice President of LRS, Guruji Hanuman Prasad Sharma talked about the struggles of state government employees, which was reaching a new and higher level of unity, and that of the farmers against forcible land acquisition. He also talked about a campaign to punish the guilty responsible for the murder of an entire family, who had carried this heinous act with the backing of political parties and government. In Haryana, struggle is raging against forcible acquisition of agricultural land. In Gurgaon, Delhi, Maharashtra, Ghaziabad, and Chennai, one of the important struggles has been in defence of the rights of workers to have a union of their choice and for demanding working conditions fit for human beings. In addition, struggles have been raging in the metropolises like Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai against lack of amenities like water, sanitation, electricity, etc., in residential colonies and demanding availability of ration supplies. Youth have been coming forward to organise LRS activities in Delhi and Mumbai areas and several new committees have been established. In Maharashtra LRS has initiated a major struggle against the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), which has been resurrected to curtail the rights of the working people. In this struggle, we have been able to involve actively numerous unions of different sections of workers.
There were more than a dozen interventions on the report. Several members elaborated on the struggles going on in their areas and the political stand that LRS took. On the question of organisational weaknesses, the members of various Regional Councils wholly accepted the criticism displaying the maturity of the organisation to benefit from criticism and self-criticism and resolved to remove these weaknesses. The report was unanimously adopted.
Prakash Rao pointed out that the AIC Secretariat brings out statements in the name of LRS and these needed to be ratified by the AIC in its next meeting. A recent LRS statement on the Presidential elections was read out and several members gave their views on the issues. The statement pointed out that given the deep economic crisis and rising prices and attacks on people rights, which is discrediting the present system, the ruling circles are preparing to further attack the rights of the people. They want a trustworthy President who will not create delays for the Executive to take tough decisions like imposition of national emergency, in case of a political crisis. More than a dozen members intervened with their views in support of the line of thinking in the statement showing the unity of thought in the AIC.
The plan for the coming three months was discussed next. There were proposals from several regions to strengthen the organisation by holding regular formal meetings and at times convenient for the members. One suggestion was to formally have every region send a report every fortnight. On the theoretical front, LRS has to elaborate the theory of people’s empowerment and study and clarify issues such as land acquisition & power of Eminent Domain, what is public good, in addition to elaborating on direct democracy and electoral reforms. Meetings and statements were planned on the anniversary of India’s Independence, to mark Bhagat Singh’s birth anniversary, etc. There were several proposals to take up important issues in different areas and carry out actions to resolve them in favour of the people. Membership campaigns were also planned in various regions. New committees are being planned in Himachal, Haryana, Delhi and other places. One kisan rally is being planned in Rajasthan. It was also proposed that all important documents of LRS should be made available to all new members.
In conclusion, the President thanked the members for coming to this very important meeting. He appreciated the enthusiastic proposals from different regions. He said that the Secretariat will ensure that the documents of LRS were available to all members. He also stressed on the need to restart the LRS newsletter . He said that AIC Secretariat will work out a detailed proposal, including suggestions for the Editorial Board and the Editorial policy for the newsletter and table it at the next meeting.
The next meeting of the AIC was decided to be held on 20th October between 2 and 6 PM.