Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting political development in Orissa- activists float Lok Rajniti Manch

Activists float new party

The Statesman
BHUBANESWAR, March 23: Releasing a “people’s manifesto” and floating the Lok Rajniti Manch, leaders of various people's movements across the state led by Mr Prafulla Samantra, Mr Lingaraj and others, today exhorted voters to question candidates and political parties on issues relating to water and agriculture. Also, they urged the people to question where the parties were obtaining crores to spend in the elections.
The activists said they had decided to field candidates in some of the assembly constituencies to establish the power of the common man. Mr Lingaraj will contest the Bargarh assembly seat, while Mr Kishore Das will fight for the Morada assembly seat in Mayurbhanj district. A few other social activists involved in people's movements may also be nominated, said Mr Samantra.
Significantly, most of these activists have been leading anti-displacement, anti-mining and tribal cause-related movements in the state. Mr Lingaraj is widely known for his struggle against the indiscriminate allocation of Hirakud waters to industrial houses. The peasants' movement of which he was a leader has led to violence in recent times in Sambalpur region.
The activists issued a set of questions to the people, imploring them to ponder - and even grill - their political leaders.
Here are some of the questions proposed: Is CM Naveen Patnaik and his government clean? If so, how is it that crores are spent, even on municipal election campaigns? Which minister or MLA has not added to his property and wealth over the last nine years? Doesn’t the common man pay bribes at every office, be it the block, tehsil, revenue, police, forest office? Why does the 'land grab' include valuable agriculture land? What is the motive for taking over such fertile land, and who benefits from it?
The activists challenge the claims of development made by the BJD and point out the discrepancy between "claims that the state had progressed and developed, and the fact that the state had become one of the poorest state in the country". The added: "More than 80 per cent of people in rural areas of the state have a per capita daily income of less than Rs 19. How can this be called progress and development?"
"The MNC and the rich, the politician and his masters, are the only ones who have progressed and amassed wealth while the poor have become poorer and the farmer has been deprived of land and water," they said.
They also announced that each one of them would collect donations, moving around on bicycles to muster the required amount for contesting the election.

Call for alternative political force Staff Reporter, The Hindu
“People’s manifesto” released


BHUBANESWAR: A group of leaders spearheading agitations at the grassroots level on Monday released a people’s manifesto calling upon people to fight elections based on the programmes.

Coming together in a forum, Loka Rajaniti Manch (LRM), these leaders have vowed to make a difference in the way elections. The forum has decided to field candidates for two Assembly seats.

While Samajbadi Jana Parishad leader, Lingaraj, would file his nomination from Bargarh Assembly constituency, Kishore Das of Nabakranti Abhijan, would fight election in Morada Assembly constituency in Mayurbhanj district.

The LRP declared that people’s movement leaders would involve themselves in campaigning for the candidates who would come forward to accept people’s manifesto.

“We want to defeat forces who have been sponsored by corporate houses. The objective behind fighting elections is to build up an alternative political force, which would raise issues such as displacement and betterment of downtrodden people,” said Prafulla Samantra of State unit of LRP.

He said LRP was a national level forum of leaders involved in people’s movements and the process of bringing them together started a year ago.

Mr. Lingarj, whose electoral prospects are said to be bright, will jump into electoral battle for the second time. “We don’t have enough money power to carry out a high profile campaign. I have touched 90 per cent of gram panchayats by bicycles and made people aware about the alternative model of development,” he said.

Governments flayed

The forum leaders came down heavily on the successive state governments for adopting policy of globalisation. Especially in Orissa, the BJD-BJP alliance government had pursued fast industrialisation, which had caused more destruction than development, Mr. Lingaraj said.

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