Hyderabad, Dec 7 : Surajya Movement Convener Dr Jayaprakash Narayan counseled people to strive to reform politics instead of blaming, hating and deriding politicians. The ultimate responsibility for the present pathetic state of affairs rests with voters and not the Prime Minister or the Chief Minister or law makers all of whom they elect.
Addressing a large gathering after calling off his three-day Jana Chaitnaya Nirahara Deeksha at Dharna Chowk near Indira Park here on Friday, Dr JP said the Steering Committee of the Surajya Movement conceived the deeksha not as a protest against either the Government or political parties but as a means to educate and enlighten people on a few basic demands. Dr. JP sipped coconut water offered by Mr. Chukka Ramaiah to mark the ending of the fast and the beginning of a widespread movement for good governance.
Dr. JP said that problems in a vast country like India with 120 crore people belonging to diverse religions and castes and speaking scores of languages cannot be resolved with a magic wand. Corruption, for instance, cannot be eradicated by locking up the corrupt in a room and shooting them down.
Dr. JP, who is also national President of the Lok Satta Party, expressed happiness over leaders of all political parties and organizations expressing their support to and solidarity with the movement.
The very fact that he and others had to go on a fast underlines the failure of the political system in India. “We claim we are a vibrant democracy, comparing ourselves to China. But democracy does not lie merely in having freedom of speech and regular elections. We cannot claim we are a democracy so long as we do not empower people to address their problems at the local level as in China. In India, people cannot get even basic services without greasing the palms of officials or exerting pressure through elected representatives.” That is why the Surajya Movement seeks devolution of 10 percent of the State’s 1.5 lakh crore annual budget on village panchayats and municipal wards.
The other demands of the Surajaya Movement are institution of a strong Lokayukta at the State level, provision of quality education and healthcare to all, guaranteeing basic services to citizens as a matter of their right and replacement of the present first-past-the-post representation system by a proportional system.
Dr. JP pointed out that the present electoral system spawned a host of evils like vote buying, liquor distribution, offer of freebies and appeals to people’s primordial loyalties since the difference of a few votes makes all the difference between victory and defeat. One cannot hope to win an election unless one buys votes, although vote buying does not necessarily guarantee one’s victory.
Dr. JP underlined that people can achieve these demands if they fight together transcending party lines. He was glad that Surjya message has reached hundreds of thousands of people throughout the State because of the three-day deeksha.
Dr. advised the youth to spare at least four days in a year to spread the Surajya message and address people’s problems at the local level.
Representatives of various political parties and organizations lauded Dr. JP for bringing all of them onto a single platform and pledged to work for Surajya goals.
Among those who addressed the Surajya meeting on Friday include Pradesh Congress President Botsa Satyanarayana, BJP leaders G Kishan Reddy and Bandaru Dattatreya, Chukka Ramaiah , Prof K. Nageshwar, Jupudi Prabhakar Rao (YSR CP) and Dileep Kumar (TVS), all MLCs, CPI leader Chada Venkata Reddy, CPM leader Krishnaiah, TVS leade K. Dilip, TRS leader Shravan, Tripurana Venkataratnam, Aam Aadmi Party leaders, movie director Rajamouli, Tammareddi Bharadhwaz, Farmers’ Association leaders Balaram Reddy, Hanumanthu Reddy and representatives of many civil society organizations.
Kartik Chandra and P Shivaji administered the Surajya pledge to the large gathering which included students and youth. Deeksha Coordinator Katari Srinivasa Rao proposed a vote of thanks.