Press Releases Archive

Retd. Kerala DGP joins Lok Satta

Mr. Upendra Varma, retired IPS officer of the rank of Director General of Police, Kerala, today joined the Lok Satta Party in the presence of party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan.

A Master of Arts in Political Science and Master of Business Administration, Mr. Varma joined the IPS in 1971 and retired in October 2008 as Director, Institute of Management in Government Kerala.

During his 17 years of service in Kerala, he served as Director General, Vigilance, and Anti Corruption Bureau. On deputation to Delhi for about 17 years, he had served as Assistant Director in the Enforcement Directorate and Joint Secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat.

Mr. Varma has come forward to invest his time and effort in strengthening the Lok Satta Party which is striving to usher in new political culture. Lok Satta’s goals are national, and Andhra Pradesh is the starting points for political transformation. Mr. Varma joined the movement in keeping with this spirit. He is also willing to give substantial time to Andhra Pradesh in the run up to 2009 elections.

Lok Satta in deeply committed to one India – one citizenship concept. We need to create an inclusive India giving space and opportunity to all sections, ensuring equal justice to all, and promoting dignity of all citizens. "Reconciliation of all conflicts and contentions harmoniously is a vital pay of this process" Dr. JP said. Lok Satta Party is confident Lok Satta will emerge as a strong national platform to transform our republic and strengthen constitutional values. Sri Varma's leadership and participation are an important milestone in this endeavors.

Thursday, January 1, 2009 - 18:58

Unveil new politics in New Year: Dr. JP

Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan today appealed to the people of Andhra Pradesh to avail of the historic opportunity being presented by the general elections in 2009 to reject politics rooted in dynasties, money and muscle power.

Addressing the media on the occasion of Mrs. Gouthu Jhansi joining the Lok Satta Party after quitting the Praja Rajyam Party, Dr. JP said that the Lok Satta provided a forum to people who were fed up with traditional parties. "Lok Satta politics are policy based and people centered. It has thrown open its gates to people without looking into their pedigree or money power, or their caste and religion. It is the only party which is conducting its organizational elections by secret ballot from the mandal to the State level. The party is fielding young and educated candidates belonging to middle classes to contest the ensuing elections."

Dr. JP recalled that the Lok Satta registered significant victories in many matters on which it had been fighting for many years. They included Parliament passing the Gram Nyayalaya Bill, the Election Commission recognizing post office as a nodal agency for voter registration, and delimitation of constituencies.

Mrs. Gouthu Jhansi said she had quit the Praja Rajyam Party since she was not reconciled to its methods of working. Although it claimed to work for social justice, its actions belied its claims. She described her joining the Lok Satta as a home coming since she had been an admirer of it even before it became a party.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008 - 18:36

Lok Satta welcomes HC decision on road shows

The Lok Satta Party today welcomed the Andhra Pradesh High Court permitting road shows provided they do not inconvenience people.

Party spokesman Katari Srinivasa Rao and Working Committee member N. Ravinder told the media that the Lok Satta has along maintained that political parties cannot violate citizens’ fundamental rights by turning roads meant for free flow of traffic to demonstrate their strength. The party as a matter of principle is also opposed to rasta rokos and bandhs as they abridged people’s freedoms.

The High Court, they said, was right in restricting the number of vehicles, banning roadside speeches, and limiting the processions to one side of the road as essential.

The Lok Satta Party suggested that the Government convene an all-party meeting and hammer out a consensus on the implementation of the High Court directives. The Government should not give scope for allegations of partiality in permitting road shows especially in the election year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 23:20

Dr. JP faces contest from two others in Lok Satta Party elections

Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan and two others filed their nominations for the position of the Lok Satta Party President here today. The other two challenging the incumbent President Dr. JP are D. V. S. S. Varma, General Secretary and Mrs. Akula Maharani, Greater Hyderabad Mahila Satta President, at present. Mr. Nanidpeta Ravinder, the incumbent, filed his nomination for the post of President, Greater Hyderabad party unit.

All the three submitted their nominations to the Chairman of the Election Authority, Mr. V. Ramachandraiah.

A candidate contesting for the State President’s position should have the support of at least 1000 active members of the party. Dr. JP is backed by 1438, Mr. Varma by 1230 and Mrs. Maharani by 1131 active members from various districts.

December 25 is the last date for filing nominations. The final candidates in the fray will be announced after scrutiny on December 26. The elections to positions in the party at all levels will be conducted during January 4-7 and the results announced on January 9.

Dr. JP appealed to party members to take part in the polling actively, and pledged to work with anybody who is elected. Anybody who becomes a member even on the polling day is eligible to vote.

He recalled that Subhash Chandra Bose had fought against Mahatma Gandhi and won as Congress President in the Haripur Congress and added that post-Independence, parties have shed their democratic culture and become leaders’ pocket boroughs.

Dr. JP said: “In leader or dynasty-centered politics, corruption will have a field day. Internal democracy is essential if ordinary members were to have any say in politics. We are conducting organizational elections, unfazed by the general elections round the corner, because we believe in democratic functioning.”

Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 08:39

Can we walk the talk?

The recent terror attacks have shaken middle class and young India as never before. Millions have responded with grief for the senseless slaughter of innocent people, and anger at the corruption, incompetence and abject failure of politicians. The revulsion of dysfunctional politics is palpable.

Happily, this time there is a realisation that we cannot shun politics. More and more from middle classes are now registering as voters and exercising franchise. In the states that went to polls last week, people voted thoughtfully, not emotionally. There is recognition that politics shapes our future. But there is also a sense of resignation that nothing much can be expected from current politics. The only celebration on election results is seen among party workers and elected candidates.

For a nation which celebrates its elections, this quiet resignation is a reflection of minimal expectations. The moribund parties are bereft of ideas and hope. They all have been tried and tested, and all are found wanting. We can no longer pretend that one more change of government will change our lives.

This combination of rising political interest and growing despair poses a challenge and provides an opportunity. Despite a few politicians of sterling virtues, as a rule our parties are uninspiring. Mired in vote buying, competitive populism, criminalisation, sloth, divisive and vote bank politics, monumental corruption and gross incompetence, traditional parties have failed spectacularly.

We need several Gorbachevs in each major party to rejuvenate our political system from within. But hoping for such reform in parties is putting too much faith in serendipity. We cannot take such a big chance with our future as a country and as individuals. Like it or not, politics shapes the world we live in, and the future of our children. We need to be engaged.

Naoroji, Tilak, Gokhale, Gandhi, Ambedkar, Azad, Chittaranjan Das, Bose, Rajaji, Prakasam, Sarojini Naidu — all these represented the best and brightest in our society. They all entered politics, enriched our lives, and shaped our destiny. Today such people are deterred from public life. Pedigree, ill-gotten wealth, caste and criminality are the passports for political recruitment. How many Indians of ability, integrity and passion can we think of, who rose in public life without pedigree in the past two decades? If a Barack Obama seeks to contest for the state assembly in Karnataka or Andhra Pradesh, he would be summarily rejected by the traditional parties because he does not have crores of unaccounted and ill-gotten money to buy votes! Is it a surprise that our government is in shambles? If it requires great ability and dedication to run an office or company, can the nation be run by morons, crooks and political heirs?

What do we do now? The best and brightest must once again take to politics as a calling. If traditional parties are too moribund, we need to create new parties as genuine vehicles for political action. There is no escape from parties in a democracy. But we need a party platform with powerful ideas, and practising internal democracy and transparency in funds. People want change. Collectively we have a sense of what needs to be done — national security, public order, justice, rule of law, education, healthcare, skills and employment, effective markets and value addition in agriculture, rural-urban linkages, in situ urbanisation, infrastructure, a measure of social security for the poor, local governments, citizen empowerment, and zero tolerance of corruption. Past experience and global best practices offer us great lessons in accomplishing these goals. We have the resources and technology needed, if only we harness than wisely.

But we need to learn to work in teams. Petty jealousies, turf wars, and divisions must be submerged in the quest for larger goals. A genuinely democratic party must accommodate all views, and ensure discipline, synergy, competition and promotion of the truly gifted leaders. Above all a party must reconcile conflicting interests in society. If we care deeply enough, we can find realistic answers to all our vexing problems — reservations, SEZs, big projects etc. That is what true politics is about.

One special challenge today is, the idea of India is in retreat. Political India is fragmented, and there are no national verdicts. The composition of Parliament is now merely the aggregate of verdicts in states. This should change. Meanwhile, big change will have to come in metropolitan cities and one or two big states where widely respected, popular movements can influence the thinking of most people. Once we demonstrate the possibility of change in action, much of India will follow suit. We must simultaneously engage with the established parties to force the pace of change. Massive political transformation in a complex and vast nation is not easy. But it is within reach.

The time is ripe. Real and lasting change needs vision, audacity, courage, talent, patience, hard work, tact, humility, and sacrifice. Coming general elections offer us an opportunity to begin this process of change. Are we, the privileged Indians, up to the task? Can we walk the talk?

(The author is the president of Loksatta Party)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008 - 07:52