“Hung Delhi Assembly – and games parties play”
Lok Raj Sangathan demands immediate elections in Delhi and accountability of elected representatives to people!
A vibrant atmosphere prevailed in the hall at the Indian Social Institute, as several hundreds of youth (who have voted for the first time this year) and adult men and women, who all wanted to have their say on what should be the future political scene in Delhi. Will the problems of the people get sorted out if and when a govt. comes into place? Or will this ever happen when people have no choice in what kind of govt. they should have, when their votes have not been considered important nor of any consequence.
This was the meeting organised by LRS “Hung Delhi Assembly – and games parties play”. Initiating the meeting, Sucharita Basu, introduced the issue and stressed that the question before us is how do we ensure that our hands are not continued to be tied, and that we have a say in selecting our candidates, making them accountable and responsive to their electorate. The importance of initiating a campaign on the basis of discussion and dialogue was also suggested.
She said: The topic is current and important; for the last 4.5 months there is no government. There should be a government to deal with the problems of the people and people should have a role in decision-making. We will have to look at the process carefully to enable people to play a role. Today, whether there is a government or not, people are not asked about anything. It is very important that people have a role all major decisions making.
When the election campaign was going on there were many promises made to the people. People hoped that these will be carried out but this hope has been belied. In between general elections came. The election campaign was accompanied by great attacks on the people. There was a lot of bloodshed and communal riots. There are forces behind these big parties, that fund the political parties and the government gives them various concessions in return.
We want that our hands are not tied and that we are not forced to elect those whom we do not trust or even know. We are not given any account of what they do and we don’t have the recourse of recalling them if they don’t work for us. How can we enable the people to have control over the elected representatives and the functionaries of the state like the police so that they are not made the target of such attacks. Not just discussion but we want to launch a movement to change the situation.
We have among us senior activists who have been fighting for people’s rights. We have a lot of youth who are asking the question what is the use of studies when they don’t get jobs. There are women and girls who are demanding that they should have the freedom to go out in the society without fear of attacks. The young women are not willing to accept that security forces can go scot free after rape and murders.
The echo of what LRS is saying is being heard everywhere. We have to prevent the movement for people’s empowerment from being divided. We have to take it in the direction which will fulfil the aspirations of the people, youth and women. We have to move in the direction whereby people will be empowered to make the law and ensure that they are implemented to defend our rights and not used to deprive us of our rights to increase the profits of companies or vested interests.
There are a lot of people who would like to speak. We want everyone to share their views. I would like to invite the President of LRS to start the discussion. We have Shri Guruji Hanuman Prasad Sharma from Rajasthan, who is the Vice President of LRS and has been the President of Teachers Union to come and take his place in the Presidium. There are many other organisations represented here and we would like to hear from all of you.
Following this, she invited Gurji Hnauman Prasad, VP and active political agitator from Rajasthan to take the stage.
S. Raghavan the president of LRS welcomed all present and said: Welcome. More than 50% here are college and universities students and may not have yet reached the voting age. The rest must have voted in the recent elections. All of you must be wondering what kind of government will be formed in Delhi. What kind of political system we have here and what kind of political process exists. We have been told nice things about Indian democracy in text books. Does what exists today, serve us? This is the question we must be clear about.
Hung assembly is an Assembly that is neither functional nor dead. They say the Assembly is in “suspended animation” – MLAs are still there and I am sure they are collecting their salaries inspite of the Assembly functioning. But they are not doing their job. What is our demand – We want a government that will address our problems of bijli, paani, toilettes, regularisation of unauthorized colonies, etc. These are serious issues for us. What are these parties doing on these issues? There are monopolies and people with vested interests behind the parties and they don’t even ask us what we want. AAP and CM Kejriwal resigned after assuming power. BJP was offered power and refused. They said let the general elections take place. Who are they to decide that? How can they decide that Lt Governor should administer the state?
At the time of the Assembly elections, we are told through advertisements that we should not waste the power we have by voting in the elections. Now after the elections, we have no power left. There is no majority for any of the parties. Even the party with the maximum number of seats has got only the votes of less than 22.5% of the total number of Delhi voters. And they are calling the shots. We have called this meeting to discuss and plan something to do on the ground. Can we do something to change the existing system and process or should we fight for a new system and process. I want to say that we should fight for a new political system since the existing system does not work for us. The type of changes that we want to fight for is a very important question.
We want a govt. that will respond to our crying needs and demands, basic necessities; each passing day is a difficult one. The parties are backed by money and muscle power backed by big corporate houses, and they do not care what happens to the people. When they wish they will decide, when to form a govt. when not to, is this what is representative democracy? On top of that they urge us to vote as responsible citizens, and we do, but then after that who is being responsible and who is being irresponsible? In terms of actions, we need to think can we just reform this political system and process, or should we struggle for a new political process. We need to reject this type of political process.
We need to work strongly in the samitis, where there are no samitis, we need to build them; we through these samitis, need to select the candidate of our choice who will be accountable to us. Right to selection and election should be in our hands and not in the hands of the parties. They impose upon us candidates who do not work in the interest of the people but on the other hand work in the interest of then big corporate houses. We should also have the right to recall as well. Thirdly we should have the right to initiate legislation; who should decide on what type of legislation. For instance for years, the struggle has been on to regularise the unauthorised colony. Everybody is a citizen. And everybody has the right to demand water, housing, livelihood, electricity. The law has to be the same for everybody. Similarly, right to education and health has to be fulfilled. It cannot be on the paper, it has to be a realisable right. Those who work against this right and who hold positions and do not fulfil these rights need to be brought to book. Our program is clear and available, please do take a copy and read it.
The Indian Constitution is the source of all the elements of the political process. When we read the Constitution we will understand why I am saying this. We may need to rewrite it perhaps. We need to debate this issue everywhere. Representation of People’s Act, we need to talk about this legislation, we need to call the representatives of the people to our samiti meetings, and ask them where is it written in the Constitution that we as people can select our representatives, we will be assured of the basic rights and if it is not done what is the punishment or what are the mechanisms that will ensure it? The definition of a new political process, we need to develop as people, as it is meant for us, meant to serve us.
Lokesh, a candidate from Sangam Vihar, with personal experience on how this system works was the next speaker. He said: In Delhi, youth have seen many movements, on corruption, and for their struggles. Many parties call on the youth through email and Face Book. But now the youth are asking why we should join your party. Take the example of education, youth have no future, no secure livelihood. All the leaders are sitting here in Delhi. The vote is for their party, and they look forward to building their vote bank. Modi has said call the youth, because the older generation will not work. He is referring to youth who are of that type (not living in Jhuggis or elsewhere), that have been trained to serve their interests.
For me and for others as well who are selected by the people, the issue is not of winning and losing in the elctions. Bhagat Singh and his fellow martyrs gave the direction, and it is our work to struggle to remain steadfastly in that path. Those parties who are calling on the youth have a definite purpose and that is theybacked by the capitalists are keeping an eye on youth, so that they can continue with their profits, so that youth can be looted. Same in the case of paani, or bijli. I reside in Sjy colony. They broke down 300 houses recently. No MLA, no leader came. But when they need votes, they will fill their trucks so that they can fool us once more.
Now we can all see what is happening here in Delhi; they are buying each other’s votes and trading candidates; when AAP came, they were debating to make or not the government, but ultimately they broke it. Were the people asked even once? Can the people ask why is your government not doing what you promised? Every one of them say I am with you, with aam admi, etc, but really where are they when people demand, when people are attacked. The constitution is not giving the right to people; in the sense it is all written on paper but what mechanisms or laws ensures these? People are marginalised. We go on waiting like the cat between two monkeys.
I say that the youth must come into politics yes, so that they can be the leaders of the people not of the parties. Otherwise if we keep believing in these parties, we will lose again and again. We need to organise our youth, women, elderly, like Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, Sukhdev showed us, we need to build samitis, among every section of the people, and here I want to stress that it is important to build among women their samitis. The Hind Nau Jawan Ekta Sabha works among the youth.Women comprise 50% of the population, and we need to organise them as well, so that they can wage their struggles, for their security etc. Right to select and right to recall has to be our basic right in practice. Let us organise and let us take this slogan forward: Hukmaran bane, samaj ko badal dalen!.
The next speaker was the Vice President of LRS, Guruji Hanuman Prasad. He said: We have been discussing many times that the existing political system and process does not defend the interest of the people. It is a continuation of the system started by the British. Countless youth had sacrificed their lives to win independence from the British. The British had realised right after 1857 that they will have to do something to divide the Indian people, otherwise, the toilers and youth of this country will snatch the rule back. When I talk of the British, I am not talking of the British people, many of who are ordinary workers. I am talking about the British who were ruling over India, ie, British colonialism (BC). BC realised that they needed to create a section of the native people who will think like BC. Mountbatten in 1944-45, explained to the Congress, Nehru, Jinnah etc, that we will hand over the reins of rule to them but they must defend this type of rule. They formed a committee of Tata, Birla and others to make a plan for the next 15 years, which was known as the Bombay Plan). The Indian Constitution was written by those who were serving the British (man of property many of who were elected on a communal franchise to the Provincial Assemblies). This constitution was based on all the GOI Acts from 1860 to 1946. Unless we understand this fact, we will not be able to liberate our country.
Second thing, during the rule of the UPA government, billionaires have become wealthier while billions of ordinary people have become impoverished. The Indian ruling class itself had figured out that the UPA government was too exposed to continue and that unless it was replaced by another party or coalition, the people may revolt. So they had to bring an alternative. Like before Jayaprakash Narayan was suddenly built up, they tried to bring up Anna and Kejriwal. What was the contribution of these individuals to the struggles of the people? What sacrifices had they made? These were built up by media. Media doesn’t talk of the real heros of the people. I will not even be able to recall the names of more than 10-20 martyrs of the anti-colonial struggle when 1000s were incarcerated in jails and sent to the gallows. The names of Kejriwal or Modi name were built up in matter of months. This means that there is big forces behind them. Unless we get rid of these forces behind, we will not be able to change the situation for the people. Kejriwal said that he will ask the people to form the government. But when he reigned, he did not ask the people. The President is like imitation gold ornament actually made of brass but made to shine like gold. Their thinking is, if it works it is no less than gold, if it is lost then there is no great loss. Lt. Governor is President’s agent. Lt. Governor is not being given the green signal to hold elections from the President, who in turn is not been given a green signal by the ruling party. These officials are interested in good positions and privileges. They are watching how Modi government will fare before taking action.
The Modi government is like the Fascists. Sometimes he will talk through the media of Sai baba and sometimes about the threat from the neighbours. It is designed to confuse the people. Even Obama is saying that he does not know if Modi is teetar or beether!
We should together build a movement so that the interest of people is heeded. We should demand that the representatives commits themselves to remaining answerable to the people at all times. We have to get organised to bring the people to power.
Speaking on behalf of women, and an activist in Purogami Mahila Sangathan Renu Nayak, said: I thank LRS to have givenme an opportunity to speak. The assembly is hung like a sword over our heads. When we took our demands to Shiela Dhikshit, the then CM of Delhi, she said to us “use the bijli in such a way it is only that much which you need”! On issue of security of women, they called us middleclass. Even at workplace we get oppressed and attacked; on the streets too we face the same; many young girls have been taken out of schools. On the issue of rape, the police, the party representatives are not responsible for the very act and/or for not taking action. The law and those who are expected to provide justice do nothing. Our experience has shown none of them have lifted their fingers to assist women. That is why our only alternative is to form samitis, and work towards selection of our own candidates, people’s candidates. It is clear to us that any donkey we seat on a chair remains a donkey! We have to ensure our own security. Wherever we are from, we need to take power in our hands, we have no faith on this or that Sarkar; how many women die during pregnancy, how many children die due to malnutrition; we are the youth, the future rest on our shoulders; otherwise these people will continue to reap their profits; when they can as was said destroy over 300 houses, where were these representatives? Women are kept bound hand and foot, by raping them, by putting them down. We need to build our own future, and it is in our hands to do so.
The next speaker was Prakash Rao, and he said: Lal salam. I am very happy to address this gathering. The speakers who have spoken before me show that people are very conscious. It gives us confidence that we will bring about a change.
The political system and process are very important in reflecting what kind of democracy exists. We cannot say that everything is bad in the existing system. The fact that we have elections with universal suffrage is a good thing. What is bad is that Governor is ruling. We cannot be indifferent to the fact whether government is formed or not. We want the government to be formed and people actually getting Acche din. However, governments are formed in this system to give Acche din for only a handful of capitalist monopolies.
There are a lot of communal incidents taking place – violence in Moradabad, Muzaffarnagar, etc., murder of youth in Pune. On the other hand, Rajasthan government is attacking the rights of the workers. Did they talk about these changes to the labour laws at the time of the campaign? We cannot say that parties are doing manmaani (act arbitrarily). They always actually implement the will of a tiny minority.
Is it the question of political system and process or individual political parties and politicians are the cause of the problem? In Bengal one MLA openly said he will get women belonging to his rival sections raped!
I will say that it is not a question individual parties but of the existing political system. Those who merge with this system, have no choice but to work according to the system. As long as there are a handful of rulers who rule over the vast majority, then the problems will remain. We want the chasm between the rulers and ruled to be eliminated. Some will say it is not possible to bridge this chasm. It is entirely possible – what special knowledge is needed to rule that the working class cannot acquire? Ghadar party has taken up the task to do it.
At the time of the Babri Masjid demolition, we could see that for a narrow aim, people were being made to fight each other. They incite the people and then move back. Finally it is the people who have to bear the brunt of the attacks and suffer. The established political parties have the same agenda and they have no problem to shifting from one party to another.
Our ancestors may have been satisfied with voting and leaving it to the parties to rule. But it is not the situation today. People have moved ahead. Either they will have to change or people will change it. People want democracy that will change their lives for the better. We have to have confidence in ourselves.
The Election Commission says there are problems of criminalisation of politics and money power. Many people are saying that 30% are criminals or that money power is ruling. If the whole country is ruled by money then it will happen in elections too. The real questions are, “Is the government to be answerable to the parliament?”, “Are the members of parliament answerable to the electors?” It IS possible to make them answerable.
How come all the parties promise regularisation of re-settlement colonies but don’t do it? Should people not be able to initiate legislation to regularise these colonies and get all facilities? Why should the committees in different areas not call meetings and call all MLAs (elected and not elected) and ask them what they are doing about these issues? Demolitions are taking place and the MLAs and MPs of the Congress and BJP don’t even come there. People should put posters in the area and call for exposing these ‘representatives’.
Political parties are important. We are also a political party. But should a party divide people and attack them, or should it unite the people and empower them?
It does not matter what your ideology may be, whether it is Communism or Hindutva, you cannot eat it. Whether anyone wins or loses in the elections, they should continue to work for the people. Therefore, it is very essential to make such changes in democracy that will enable the people to rule. Communist Ghadar Party of India has been doing this work and we call upon other parties and organisations to come forward too.
LRS has done very good work over the years. It has taken affect among the people. The people of Delhi had already declared in the streets of Delhi that people should be able to initiate legislations. If you merge with the existing system then you cannot change it. But if you fight to change it then the question of whether it can be done from within or without doesn’t even arise. The constitution needs to be changed. People have to write the constitution. We should not be afraid of the constitution, constitution should be afraid of the people.
Om Gupta, speaking next said: I stood from Badarpur, chosen by the mazdoors, and with support of LRS. This meeting theme is Hung parliament; this means that it is a situation when no single party gets the majority. But does this mean that there should be no government? We did elections for setting up the government and not for this or that party. This happens everywhere in other countries also. Is it that parties do not want a government? Those who got elected did not want elections. But those in power are behind all this and who are stopping elections or the formation of a government. Political opinions of the people are corrupted by those in power. Media has a strong hold on tilting the decision as to who should come to power. The views are made by the media. The media of the workers is weak. People agree to our pamphlets etc. But beyond that one is unable to move, because they have all the power of the media behind them.
In this two party system, as the regional parties came on the scene, this hung parliament also came into play. Majority is not won by any party. It is a bi-party system, and mostly the choice is made. Those who won are again placed before the people and of these two, one is who is then voted upon. We need to be in the midst of public opinion and we have to continue with our propaganda. We cannot afford in my opinion to have another elections, but maybe we have to mobilise the people for the demand. MLAs are ready but not the parties. We need to work together and see what kind of legislation is needed. We have to have the power, otherwise we will be living lives of death all the time. We have to change this. Inquilab zindabad!
Birju Nayak, the next speaker said: In the recent Delhi elections which led to hung assembly the results were: Congress 8, BJP 34 and AAP 28 MLAs. No one came forward at first. Later AAP formed the government and then resigned. What is the purpose of forming the government? It has to be to solve the problems of the people. People have elected 70 MLAs but the parties are not willing to run the government. All MLAs should form the government. But they insist on majority. In Okhla when demolitions were taking place, I asked the other candidate who had stood in the elections to come there and oppose the unjust action. The demolitions were being done to widen the road. There can be no justification for removing people and demolishing their houses without providing an alternative place to live. The demolitions had to be opposed because these were being carried out without any measures for rehabilitation. When I questioned the ex-MLA he became angry saying that he has done all this work for so many years and that people did not vote for him. I told him that the issue is not whether you got elected or not, you must stand with the people. But he did not see it that way, very few of our representatives do!
Why do they want a majority government? Because they do not want a debate or discussion in the Assembly. They want to act without a debate on the basis of their majority. Opposition walks out rather than debating the issues. The 70 MLAs should discuss how the problems of the people can be solved, discuss how they could get education for all. But they do not want to do it. If they started to do it, then their agenda will get exposed (pol khul jayegi). The real reasons for the parties to do something will come out if they started to discuss the problems of the people and what needs to be done. People are really facing serious problems, for example, in Sangam Vihar there is severe problem of water supply. People pay 600 Rs for 600 litres and try to stretch it for the month.
Lot of workers live in these areas. People do not even get minimum wage. But if they protest then the owners or contractors throw them out. Women do not have toilets in factories and even in schools. The owners tell them they can relieve themselves at lunch time somewhere outside. There are hundreds of problems of the people. It does not matter if you belong to this party or that party, whether you are communal or secular, the situation is demanding that you come out and work for the people. The problem is really is that those who get elected donot want to address the problems of the people but want to work for a handful of exploiters. Like Prakashji has said, Rajasthan government is trying to deprive workers of rights. Later they will try to do the same in other states.
People used to say that there will be communal violence after Modi is elected. I used to challenge them. I told them that he is not free to do what he pleases. His work is to ensure that foreign capital should come, the businesses should grow. Yes, they can organise communal violence also when people start to get united and they want to break their struggle and unity. The Congress which calls itself “secular” is as guilty as the communal BJP. They all have the same agenda.
Previously BJP used to protest one rupee increase in price. Now they are hiding behind air-conditioned rooms. Now Congress is out with Matka protests. Yes, you can make Delhi beautiful. We also want that. But for this you cannot violate the rights of the people. For defending their rights and interest, we, the people, have to unite.
Rafiq Jabbar Mullaj, was the next speaker and he said:This is a beautiful program organised by LRS. The subject is very important as people from youth to older generation have to unite. I would agree that truly these are games being played by the three main parties. Through riots and bloodletting elections have been conducted. They have elected a PM that as Guruji said will reveal himself as beeter or teetar. Acche din have already come for the capitalists.
Since independence we have had Congress and BJP ruling. These parties have made black laws. They are using the concept of fear. People are becoming aware to some extent. Among the Muslims and backwards castes, there is awareness. When Congress and BJP realised this, they started the politics of bomb blasts in which they implicate Muslims. Through these blasts, they create an anti-Muslim feeling and try to draw different sections towards Hinduism (although they are all not Hindus). By this politics they are really making all efforts to split the people. Now the bad days will get even worse.
Through the work of LRS and others, people have more awareness. So when we vote in the next elections we can make a difference. Yes, I agree with LRS that elected representative are not representatives of the people but of the parties. I appreciate the work of LRS and we are with them not only in Delhi but throughout India.
Santosh a candidate from Okhla constituency, said: My greetings to all on the dais and also in the audience. I learnt a lot today listening to everybody. The games that are being played is from the time of 1947; like Guruji said the Tata-Birla plan, the plan was to implement the capitalists’ plan. The parliament will talk about what will be the plans for kisans and mazdoors. They are like puppets of the capitalists; earlier the decisions were in the hands of Tata and Birla, now there are many more capitalists behind the scenes. People gave vote and said go to the assembly, and make laws and implement them in the interest of people, for their education, health, livelihood etc. They are all wonderful with words and slogans, but one is yet to see anything on the ground. Governor is under the thumb of the President, and the President under the PM – this is the way it goes round and round.
Big capitalists decide whoever will work in my interest will get chosen not otherwise. The elections are used to bring those parties or government in power who will do their job. Congress was discredited, and those big timers as mentioned before decided to promote BJP. In my experience, there was no propaganda by the Congress When Modi came to power what did he do, he first paid attention to defence because that is where the money is. This is good days they keep repeating the mantra. People are beaten and their houses are destroyed, is this the accha din? Neither earlier, nor now will the making of this kind of government solve the problems faced by the people. We are talking of a democracy that does not ask people for their views; in the word lok tantra, where is the lok? There is no right to people to select; the parties decide which bird we should elect that is thrown at us. Once we have pushed the button, then for the next 5 years we have to bear it all. When I stand for election, I am not given any preference, in media, nor allowed to have the rallies. EC role is to see where the accounts goes and they pester us for the 10000 or 20000 that we spend. But they do not ask how the helicopters came?!Only the ordinary mazdoor and kisan is asked. All the institutions made after elections is for the capitalists. As ordinary people we are made to go round and round. This is the Indian state, a part of the state is the parliament. When the state decides who should amass what wealth at the people’s expense, how will they ever protect ordinary people?
We need to question, so many kisans have committed suicides, look at education they are playing games with 3 years and 4 years! And when some sensible things are written on education, they never implement it. Economic policy, foreign policy is all in the interests of the capitalists. Constitution was written by a handful; if you question the constitution then you are labelled as terrorist! Our economics, our culture everything is changing but the constitution remains the same! We had krantis, 1857, 1913, and during the anti-colonial struggle at the time of Bhagat Singh.
It is all a question of who has power. If working class comes to power than there will be a state that will protect their interests. The state has to change, the nature of the state has to be changed. We will otherwise remain within their clutches. The road is kranti and nothing short of that. My appeal is that all youth have to expose this system and this political process and wage revolution and for that we have to organise nothing short of that! Inquilab zindabad.
Pancholi, civil rights activist, said: I had come to listen. I was very happy to learn about this program as there is great need for such discussions. There is a thinking that has been spread, that it is necessary to come to power if you want to solve the problems of the people. When they come to power, then we know how they behave. When the same parties are in opposition, then they behave differently. All changes have come because of movements of the people (bonus, gratuity, right to information, etc.).
Political parties try to tell us “Don’t think that you can bring a change. You should leave it to us, we will bring the change.” Their aim is that you should not recognise your power, otherwise they will lose their own power and privileged position. We have to understand that we should not depend on these parties. It is not necessary to come to power (!). If we are united and organised, we will be able to change things and solve many of our problems. We have to only become aware of our power.
UAPA has been amended by the last government and Terrorist act is now going to include those who threaten the economic security of the country. We have to be conscious.
In the Working Journalist Act, there were a lot of protection for the journalists. They could not be thrown out for writing their views. Now the owners are hiring on the basis of contract system so that they could be thrown out if they write against them and their views.
Dharmender, candidate in Assembly elections from Kalkaji said: Rights are not for show. If there are violation of the rights of any group, then LRS opposes such violation. In this Democracy, there is administration but people do not count. We are ruled and our rights are violated anywhere and at any time by claiming that there is violation of laws. When we talk of the right of everyone, it is worth contrasting it with what is given in the Constitution. In the Preamble, it is said that “We, the people give ourselves …” If you turn it round and see it in today’s context then we will see that it is not at all the truth nor correct. Earlier sovereignty resided with the British imperialism and later with the American imperialism. By mere 30% votes a party becomes sovereign and starts ruling over us. What about the sovereignty of 70%?
Otherwise how can it happen that the Parliament passes the Food Security Act when it does not really provide food security to the people. People did not get ration from ration shops for months together, ironically, because of this act. People used to be told that ration is not coming because the bill has not been passed! Later when the Bill was passed the ration shops used to say that there is no notification by the Delhi government yet for it to be implemented!
In Kalkaji constituency, there are all the problems that other areas face – bijli, pani, sadak. Subhashji three times MLA never came to the constituency after getting elected. He had not touched the development fund. There was no mention of this in all the debates in the media during the election campaign.
Many people told us that in education a lot of teachers were working on contract. All the political parties had promised in their manifestos to give permanent employment. The politicians of establishment say what people want to hear but in terms of concrete actions they do nothing. The party that formed the government in December in Delhi had promised that they will get rid of contract system. When people demanded and went on strike, they were told that it is a legal matter and that the government is yet to consider the issue. So it shows that this system does not have mechanisms to implement pro people policies.
When I stood for elections, 1500 people gave me support in writing. I had more supporters then any other organisation. I know the situation of Kalkaji. I have more supporters in Kalkaji than any other party. However, I was considered an independent although I belonged to some people’s organisations. We have only 11 days for campaign out of which 5 days went in attending official meetings organised by the EC with the RO, Police Commissioner and others. We are told that it is level playing field, I do not have a symbol when I am speaking here. When the recognised parties’ candidates speak, they already have their symbols. When they give a speech, it goes as their election campaign. They put their symbol on their pockets and saree pallus. There is no equality in the contest. The Representation of People’s Act does not give us the right of selection nor of recall to the people.
There used to be a lot of discussion of politics in the trade unions and among the youth. Today politics is trivialized. They tell us to get registered. Why should we register? We are citizens of this country and not doing anything illegal. There is a Bhoomiheen camp. To rehabiliate this colony there were three ceremonies next to Himgiri apartments and three foundation stones laid!
True representatives of the people will tell people what they want to hear and do what they want. Without people getting organised, we cannot achieve what we want. Why cannot workers say we will stop the electricity supply if they increase the rates? Why only the capitalist say something like that? That is because they are organised.
Shramik Kendra in our colony. The youth here donot have place to play or for their career counselling or any type of activity.
Tata’s wealth increased by 34 fold in these so many years. In contrast, the minimum wages increased by 434/- when the prices have gone up so much. We need to go to the people and organise them. They tell the people that Jhuggis are illegal. The legal government is formed with the votes of the jhuggiwallas!
Shahid Ali, the next speaker started by explaining why people shun politics. He said: Politics means the neethi to rule; public ko kaam karne wali ko hukumath; not their hukamath to do rajneethi. Politics has become so dirty, that people do not want to get involved. The politicians have sold their souls, they talk only about how to fill their pockets; so that their future generations to come can continue to do the same. While we continue to toil.
They will use this opportunity of further elections to fill their coffers. Every party has its ideology. Their ideology in the main is to say one thing and do totally the opposite. The question is should we allow them to have elections, or come out on the streets? Congress is not at all secular. BJP says that we have one community that we cannot tolerate and we will continue to do that. It is like ignoring one child in the family all of the time. The question is do these representatives of the three parties have the right to form a government. They buy and trade across between parties; when people gave you the mandate as AAP, we can ask them what did you do? In some places it was to pull down the Congress and that is where the BJP got elected. We have to ask these parties all this is for you to fill your pockets, does this give you the right to fool the people? Give us the vote they said, then go and sit in your homes, they told us and we will play our politics. What is equality? It is to make the poor rich, or otherwise?
You made the EC, why? It was to conduct elections; but you donot even know what happened to the election machines; 64 results were manipulated. Our EC sat with eyes closed, it is a dead body; 420 dhokebaz, these politicians, use this dead body, so that we can continue with the formality of voting; there is nothing of value in the EC.
Because Hindustan, it is not in the hands of Lok, but in the hands of those politicians. We need those who will act on people’s demands, I am saying the same as you, make the samitis; then rapists will not get selected! We have to understand what politics is; if we are in it we are terrorists, we are criminals; but if they are in it then they can do anything they want!
Kuldeep, a LRS activist from Haryana said:somebody told me that I will get old just going on the road of revolution! I told him that by going on that road I grow younger! We have to endure pain when we work everyday, but these people do not understand that. We will change, we will change this time your games. Not just in Delhi, but in Haryana as well. Where I stay, we had a program with LRS help. I was given a message by the local MLA, that I should talk about him and talk good! I was wondering how I would get out of this situation. A friend of mine wrote a poem. I just had that read out and the MLA was happy and gave money for our work! He called me again, this time to join him, but I didnot go. There was no electricity and water was drying in the fields, I thought I should take advantage so I asked the MLA, but he said the power has to come from Delhi!
So what I am appealing is that make the light shine in Delhi, change Delhi and we will take care of Haryana!
Ishwar Bhai, spoke briefly and said: when the elections comes, we need to and will raise awareness, and also work among mazdoors; we also know that a worker will not win, because he does not have money. We will make our worker victorious, without money and that will be a victory for us. But for that we will need workers’ Raj.
Milind Gupta, said that I do participate in elections but in a different way, only the vote of the youth made them victorious in these elections.
The first thing to do is to ensure that we are all on the Voter list. I have made 1000 cards as per the law. Our role is not just vote, right to stand has to be there. Why not demand the right to do propaganda, why cannot we have asymbol? We have to take out protests on this and not talk of big things such as kranti, etc. In other countries only names of candidates are there, without name of the party or any symbol, but here in our country we are illiterate, so we need party symbols.
I appeal that LRS should fight for 5 years of propaganda. People must participate in elections, and we must unite, etc.
Sucharita in conclusion, said: we give strength to our thoughts and actions that we are planning. Change is needed, so that people have their power, their right to decide when, how elections must be organised, right to select candidate, and make them truly accountable. In our areas, we need to build samitis, and wage our struggles. As candidates, as mazdoors, as women, as citizens we need to confront this system, which keeps us marginalised. I just want to explain that it is important to talk of Iraq and Iran, because it matters to us what happens in other countri3es where people like us are oppressed and moreover we cannot forget that many Hindustanis are working abroad trying to eke out their living. An attack on one is an attack on all. It is our bounden duty to discuss these, to condemn attacks on people especially by the big powers which want to gain control for their own ends across borders. People of each country have a right to decide how they want to run their affairs.
In this connection I would like to announce that the next political discussion that LRS is planning to have is on the topic, “US’s Asia policy, the question of sovereignty and we, the people”. We are seeing how various attempts are being made to crush the sovereignty of people and nations. All those who want to contribute to making this meeting a success in various ways should give their names and actively volunteer.
After many of the participants had spoken their hearts and minds, a declaration was read out.
This meeting declared the following:
We need to change this situation in favour of the people.
To do so, on an immediate basis, let us, the people of Delhi, campaign for the following—
- It is people organized in their samitis who must select from amongst their peers, candidates who would best serve the collective interests of their constituency as also the interests of the entire people of Delhi. Political parties and other organisations can propose candidates for selection. However no political party or organisation must be permitted to impose its candidates on the people in the coming elections. It is the right of the people to select their own candidates.
- Candidates who propose to stand for elections must give an undertaking that they will render periodic monthly accounts of their work in front of the samitis in public meetings organized on a non partisan basis. They must agree to being recalled, if their work is found unsatisfactory.
- Candidates must give an undertaking that they will put forth in the Delhi Assembly any legislation that the people of Delhi propose. We must work out mechanisms to ensure this. These could include the status of so called unauthorized colonies, the nationalisation of the Discoms, the ensuring of water supply to people as a right. They could include the long standing struggle of workers for a guaranteed living wage, the immediate abolition of contract labour in jobs of a permanent nature, and the registration of all workers as workers with guaranteed and enforceable rights including social security and pension. Rights of street vendors, of the rural community, of slum dwellers, must all be legally established and enforceable.