Lucknow:The democratic process may finally find expression politically if the newly constituted forum of social activists taking up people's causes has its way.
Called the People's Politics Front (Lok Rajniti Manch), it held its first national convention at Lucknow at the Ganga Prasad Memorial Hall in Aminabad. The convention saw a huge turn out of supporters from UP and its surrounding states including Kushinagar, Agra, Hardoi, Sitapur, Sultanpur, Faizabad, and even Samaspur Bihar and New Delhi.
Mooted by well known columnist Kuldip Nayar, People's Politics Front has been formed to build a political alternative in the country so that people's issues can be brought to center-stage.
Says Nayar, “The aim is to bring organizations working for people's causes at grass root levels under one forum. The vision I have for PPF is to see it take the shape the Green Party did in Europe. There is so much that is not right with the political scene in the country today so the effort of PPF will be to expose the dominant model of mainstream political parties which rely on muscle power, money power and unscrupulous ways for winning elections so that this practice can be rejected. We don't have a symbol or a flag but our presence will be felt and soon.”
Lamenting on the filmy touch that political leaders have given the elections today Nayar further added, “Everything today has become so filmy be it politicians, the electoral process or even the newspapers and news channels that cover them. But now Bollywood has joined us too to play its positive role to help bring in that change. Mahesh Bhatt too is a part of PPF now and will do his part in the entertainment arena as a representative of Lok Rajniti Manch. “
But while the PPF will participate in the electoral process their involvement will be just that of a supporting hand to contestants wanting to fight the elections. This will be done by fielding candidates from the masses itself.
Explains Dr Sandeep Pandey, Magsaysay Awardee and a well known social activist, “We will provide a platform to local leadership who have earned the love and trust of the people by taking up their causes. If they wish to contest the elections PPF will support them in every way. Therefore instead of having a party president we will have a presidium which will reflect the people's views and choices."
Agrees Sunil, a member of Samajwadi Jan Parishad from Maharashtra who is apart of the forum, “Post independence promises were made that every child would be provided education within a year. So many decades have passed since then but these promises remain unfulfilled. But why only education promises made for health, employment, equality all have been broken. Today those who call themselves 'daliton ka neta' have crores to spend on their b'day celebrations but don't bother about several thousands who are starving. This system will have to change and PPF can provide that forum for change.”
A fact which most candidates who will be contesting from the platform being provided endorse.
Like 28 year old Neel Kamal, a electoral candidate from Misrik Sitapur who is up against BSP's Ashok Rawat and BJP's Ram Prakash Rawat. But he is confident that he will be victorious as the issues he will pick up are people's problems.
“Mera koi muddaa nahin hai sirf logo ki awaaz ko uthana hai. I will voice their concerns, their pains and their problems and if they feel I am right they will support me. “
And this direct and in your face attitude of these young contestants is already creating ripples as inform members of Project Vijay, a youth organization formed by students of Lucknow, Allahabad and Bundelkhand University as well as IITians , who have taken up cudgels against corruption and the corrupt.
Say Himanshu Swarkar and Mahendra Pratap Singh who are also part of PPF now, “We have filed Right to Information (RTI) applications against 13 well known political leaders like Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Raj Babbar, Salim Sherwani, Kamla Prakash Rawat, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Raja Bhaiya, Sanjay Dutt to name a few. The information received is shocking as no one is clean as they project themselves to be. All this has to be exposed and we will do it.”
But as upbeat as that sounds, will the problems of the masses find a voice in the parliament?
“Why not?” says Nayar, “The candidates who win will be representing PPF in the Rajya and Lok Sabha. They will have the support of activists like Medha Patkar, Aruna Rai, Rajendra Sacchar, Yogendra Yadav and many more who are members of PPF.”
But how far that would help only time will tell.
(The author is a senior journalist based in Lucknow, India. Email: [email protected], website: www.citizen-news.org )