Lok Satta

Friday, 02 August 2013 13:56

Lok Satta convening round table on addressing Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra woes


The Lok Satta Party is organizing a round-table conference of leaders drawn from Coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema in Hyderabad on August 10 to discuss how the bifurcation of the State “which appears to be inevitable” can be carried out constructively, protecting the interest of all regions and sections.

Announcing this at a media conference, Lok Satta Party national President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said that leaders of students, Government employees, NGOs and intellectuals from the region are being invited for the conference.

Dr. JP utilized the occasion to appeal to people in Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra not to resort to violence, bandhs, road blockades and suicides. He asked Government employees not to strike but work with redoubled vigor to attend to people’s needs. Vandalizing statues of rival political parties will merely weaken the movement by making it partisan. They have the right to protest peacefully but not indulge in acts which hurt the interests of the very people on whose behalf they claim to be agitating. Media, instead of fanning raw passions through sensationalizing news, should promote constructive thinking.

The Congress and the Government of India are primarily responsible for the present political crisis in the State. The TDP and the YSRCP too contributed to the crisis by indulging in double-speak, said Dr. JP.

Dr. JP accused the Government of India of behaving like an emperor and treating Andhra Pradesh State as its vassal. It has not bothered to hold meaningful discussions with all stakeholders with a view to hammering out a solution acceptable to all sections of people in all the regions. Instead, it has indulged in the ritual of consultations. It is now getting ready to bypass the Assembly and impose its decision on bifurcation of the State. This approach will in effect convert India into a unitary State, destroying federalism. The ruling party’s focus is totally on the number of seats it will get in the next elections and not on the interests of either the country or the State.

Dr. JP said that the Government of India should dispel apprehensions among people of Rayalaseema and Coastal Andhra in the wake of the partition of the State. It should extend all assistance for the building of a new capital for the residual Andhra Pradesh. The choice of the capital should be decided in consultation with the people of the two regions. The people in turn should not commit the mistake of replicating Hyderabad but instead promote development of a number of towns and cities. The Government of India should also announce special support for Rayalaseema which feels orphaned with partition and perceived loss of Hyderabad.

Dr. JP categorically condemned the move of the Government of India in connivance with most of the traditional political parties to exempt them from the purview of the Right to Information Act and undo the Supreme Court verdict which said that convicted and sentenced people are ineligible to continue as legislators.

Dr. JP, who along with Ms. Aruna drafted and piloted the Right to Information Bill, said that if NGOs which collect small amounts and work for public causes are answerable under the RTI Act, there is no reason why political parties which enjoy huge Government patronage and have profound influence either for good or bad on people should be insulated. Political parties should be made answerable not merely in respect of funds they receive and spend but also on how they choose leaders and field candidates in elections. They cannot be allowed to function like private estates or dynasties.

Although the Lok Satta Party is merely a registered party but not a recognized party, it has named public information officers and placed them on its website. Dr. JP released the list of PIOs and Appellate Authorities of the Lok Satta Party under the RTI Act at the national level, and in States of Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Delhi. The PIOs will be designated for UP and Tamil Nadu soon. .

Dr. JP said the Supreme Court in its July 10 verdict merely underlined that there cannot be any discrimination between ordinary citizens and legislators on their right to contest an election if they are convicted and sentenced. The very parties which bemoan that law breakers are becoming law makers have jointed hands with the Government to ensure that murderers and rapists can continue as legislators. Leaders like Gandhi, Nehru and Ambedkar would be turning in their grave it they learn of the self-serving and inexcusable means the present day political parties are resorting to.

Lok Satta Party leaders Ravi Maruth, Y. D. Rama Rao, K. Omkar, Nandipet Ravinder, and M. A. Mazid took part in the media meet.