We – the sociopolitical activists – have achieved the basic objective of creating awareness on issues of public interests, significantly, thanks to our relentless work in the past 25 years in general and past decade in particular.
There is a significant change in the attitude of the people. They are expressing their disenchantment with the entrenched political forces by demolishing liquor outlets, taking up desilting of water bodies and water ways themselves, protesting nuclear power plants and other hazardous projects, rushing to the rescue and rehabilitation work in times of natural calamities, etc., without waiting for the administration to reach out, passing strictures against the anti people laws and programs/ projects of the governments in gram sabhas.
The first step in empowerment having been achieved, it’s time to move on to the next more significant level of making the voice of the people heard in the governing bodies. People are now apparently willing to take up political responsibilities. We have to ensure that the new found mass uprising does not slip in to the hands of divisive and fringe elements. The political system operating ‘top down’ is wrought with dangers of authoritarianism. Hence, we have to organize participation of a large number of people to take the responsibility to govern themselves/ ourselves. Thus channelizing the energies in to transformative action.
It is not just ‘naive’ but even ‘fool hardy’ to expect the current breed of politicians – particularly the entrenched ones – to do anything that will upset their own apple cart. We cannot expect the current ‘powers that be’ to be ‘Basmasuras’ to efface themselves out. The realization that they will not bring about any reforms that are targeted against them in the first place, paves the way for transformation. The nominees of these self-centered and self aggrandizer leaders can and will only represent them in their loot and atrocities. To represent the people in the governing bodies, only the people should select and nominate their own candidates.
The ‘Goliaths’ of polity have grown beyond our grasp and grip. Before we manage one step forward, they take the nation 3 steps backward. It is time we get down to result oriented direct action. It is very important to continue our work mobilizing the people. They are necessary actions, but not sufficient ones. The current level of awareness among the activists in particular and general public is due only to these actions. But the real transformation cannot come from these actions alone anymore. We need some kind of direct action.
We have to work with the people to build ‘people’s committees’ at different levels and facilitate them to ‘search, select, nominate and elect’ their won candidates.
The question is, how do we make say 15 lakh voters for a Loksabha constituency sit together and select a single candidate? ‘Peoples committees’ should be formed at street level – say for about 150 to 250 voters residing in about 40 to 60 homes and select a representative – basically an honest person, not a member of any entrenched political party, not a drunkard and one who is always willing to lend his hand for common causes. These reps from 10 such street committees will form the ‘area committee’ – representing about 1,500 to 2,500 voters. A ‘large area committee’ of ten area committee reps – representing 15,000 to 25,000 voters – a ‘state assembly constituency committee’ – representing 150,000 to 250,000 voters and finally a ‘Loksabha constituency committee’ representing 15 lac voters respectively and similarly. Where ever possible the size of the committees to be matched to the assembly constituency, local body wards. By a consultative process up and down, the people’s candidates for the 3 levels of governance to be selected.
It may look Utopian. ‘History repeats itself’ it is said. But everything happens without precedence once and then only the dictum ‘history repeats’ applies. Let us show the path to the world. This – showing path to the world – has happened many times before anyway. Let us repeat it.
It has already started happening in many places. Our duty now is only to ensure that these do not remain exceptions, but become a rule. My own experience is people are very enthusiastic, when they realize they can play a part in selecting their own candidates. The feeling of ownership in this system will definitely lead it to victory.
It is absolutely essential that activists groups, service groups and NGOs across the spectrum, get involved in this process. Lok Raj Sangathan with a wide base of cadres already can give a massive push to this movement. The message needs to be taken to the door steps of nearly 95 crore voters, before the next Lok Sabha elections, hopefully in 2019. Elections for many state assemblies and local bodies are scheduled for the next few months.
The situation in the country is so grave that we cannot experiment it at ‘one or a few places’ before launching full scale. This country cannot afford to wait for another five years for us to gather ourselves. The current political situation is akin to blood cancer. No pain killer or balm will do. Total blood transfusion is the only way out.
Reaching out to people, offering them help, to select their own candidates, is a sure shot way out. It has the potential to assail any Goliaths.
I guess it is time for a large gathering of sociopolitical activists, social workers and NGOs to deliberate the above and prepare road maps and launch with a big bang. We must form a ‘marg dharshak mandal’ of senior eminent citizens of our groups and well wishers to ensure acceptability and obedience from the cadres and leaders of sub groups. Let us take the first step right away.
And if alone we have a responsible, responsive and respectable government, we would not have to come to the streets on a daily basis.
After all “When people rise, even empires fall” and “Politicians are not invincible”.