It has a bit disappointing start of the last week with a party (i.e Loksatta Party) i followed, volunteered ,spent money and cherished has decided to quit elections .I am privileged to say that iam one of the team working behind the scenes to ensure the party and Dr.JP voice to as many eyes and ears as possible in this digital social media era. ;the team managing DR JP , Loksatta party and other loksatta pages in facebook, twitter and youtube platforms. I have to think like Dr JP and be sure of Loksatta work a lot of times and respond to many hundreds of people who message to these platforms (ofcourse with Admin tag wherever necessary) .I can understand the pain he felt with such a decision. I know this day would be sooner or later with the way things have been going on. I have seen his humility, his anger, his optimism, his despair, his oratory , his knowledge, his wisdom from a man to man distance . I even joke to my wife that iam probably the only person who sat in Dr JP’s chair while he was in the same room ( While setting up his laptop for Google Hangouts 🙂 ) . Although, as a follower and student i have always been learning from him and never tried to give my own gyaan to him like many people do it when they meet him.
Did Loksatta and Dr JP fail ? Analysis and statistics might say an YES but the heart would say a loud NO. He has graciously accepted that his ideals or the change he wanted to bring, cannot be possible in this electoral way. There are tons of reasons why he has to take such sensational decision of stepping away from electoral politics, some mistakes being on his side and on the side of people hebelieved in and some on the side of the people who couldnt vote for his platform.
In India, reforms happen only when we are neckdeep in sh*t.
Green revolution in 1960’s started only when our leaders realised that we cannot sustain an occupation of 50% population with the agri produce we have and processes we follow. There were some deadly famines just before our independence and building dams,canals were not sufficient to sustain the growing population.
Liberalization in 1991 came only after India was almost bankrupt and couldnt raise more loans from international community. PV Narasimha Rao literally had to airlift tons of Gold from Indian treasury to NewYork in exchange for some loans. Policy reforms like RTI , Aadhaar happened after decades of advocacy, and ofcourse to the indirect impact to then lawmakers.
There is a movie scene in Telugu movie “Leader” when the hero, the state CM proposes an anti corruption law but it doesnt get passed with lawmakers objecting it .An experienced and old leader suggests to exempt the lawmakers and the bill passes with thunderous applause.Hero would be in disappointment having exempted the biggest sharks of corruption but the old leader consoles him saying you are catching the fishes and without fishes there wont be sharks after sometime. Our elected public representatives are similar to this . This is as true in Indian politics that no elected representative would pass big ticket reforms which they would be a victim of (eg. Women Reservation, strong anti corruption body, police reforms etc) .
Even in such a scenario, DrJP and Loksatta movement had brought some great institutional reforms working non partisan across party lines and across think tank intellectuals.He has worked with ADR on bringing laws for candidates to disclose their financial and criminal details in elections . He has worked with Aruna Roy drafting a strong RTI law . He has worked with Vajpayee govt and got 91st constitutional amendment restricting ministry size to 15 percent of total members in a legislature and political funding reform requiring political parties to be transparent in their funding.He has worked with UPA1 for sometime in NAC and formulating “National Health Mission” to ensure healthcare to last mile of rural India. Loksatta and Dr JP has worked closely with Justice Verma and brought the Nirbhaya act. He has fought against illogical agriculture policies and was successful in removing export of grains and now fighting to sell agriculture produce across states.The Lokayukta bill which advocates strong Lokpal to probe corruption and which was the main agenda of Anna Hazaare movement was the brain child of Dr JP. Dr JP was working in background then to ensure that movement to be fruitful.The biggest achievement is probably Dr JP proposing special status to AP and development ideas to both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during state bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. There are lots of policy work done by Loksatta movement and more details on Loksatta achievements are at :Loksatta Achievements
If i was Dr JP, i would put up a photo collage of all these at my door,take my monthly IAS pension from government, take vacations every month, give some talks and retire writing books.Yet this man, cannot stop working and bringing some REAL CHANGE. We all donate to some NGOs for girl child education or for some medical operation but Dr JP works to do something to ensure these cases wont need in first place trying to bring universal healthcare and education for all.We call up our MLA when our colony roads gets damaged but cannot spare a thought that we have a local representative in name of corporator or panchayat which is actually responsible for it but cannot execute it due to lack of power,privileges and funds. These small things if reformed properly,can ensure a better life for billions of Indians.Our governments are ready to provide crores of compensation to victims of Rail accidents, or crowd stampades but cannot spend lakhs to ensure better facilties to avoid the disaster. Somebody has to look through the symptoms and fix things before they are taken into operation theatre.
Our murky politics and biased media cannot ensure these things to be taken care via electoral win means. Every new political revolution was accompanied by things which Loksatta cannot associate with and is not part of its DNA. I would discuss below with some personalities entered into political arena to bring a change ie. Arvind Kejriwal,NTR,Chiranjeevi.
AAP has the biggest advantage in choosing the battle ground as Delhi.Delhi is a glorified municipality and Kejriwal has no worries on solving agriculture problems,get more investments into state , take care of law & order which are the top 3 issues a govt perception is based on. Adding to it, media bias against Modi , media publicty, freebies gave AAP the edge , which Loksatta cannot do it.You can definitely reduce traffic and some pollution with odd even rule with hundreds of authorities monitoring vehicles but it is not possible every single day.
NTR came like a storm into AP politics unimaginable at that time of 1980s.However, he had a great support from disgruntled Congress leaders , a strong anti incumbency factor and his knack of choosing people battles . Adding to it socalist measures of freebies.
Chiranjeevi , when he started PrajaRajyam and he projected as the change agent.He lost the plot in couple of months and ultimately merged the party into Congress.I dont need to elaborate on his grand failure.
Loksatta has ensured the commitment and conviction remains in the 10 years of party progress and 12 years of being a civil movement earlier .One cannot run a political party without money or media controversy. Loksatta is not built to attract these and cannot loose its DNA to get some visible progress and credit.You can always achieve lot of things when you dont care who gets the credit.Being apolitial yields more results than getting caught in quagmire and myriad political controversies in current day Indian political scenario.
However, I dont think Loksatta would be silent and this platform laid by Dr JP will continue their fight to solve problems. Our current day politics are worse but people actually got used to it . Many of us dont watch India playing cricket if we think we are loosing even if Kohli or Dhoni is batting , we dont watch movies with exceptional acting prowess but has less entertainment in it. Such is politics , we dont support an entity which doesnt provide entertainment ,vote for those who we think will win, rather than people who we want to win. At such times, we cannot afford a statesman and visionary like DR JP to continue his energy wasting in fighting political electoral games . He has to get back to his work , looking into symptoms, start the cure. Iam glad i will continue to be playing my part.