[Alternatives to politics vs alternative politics
Election 2009 is a small but vital step towards turning our disenchantment with politicians into forging an alternative kind of politics, writes Yogendra Yadav The Hindu Monday, May 04, 2009. Secondly, there were many organisations that took up the difficult task of making a direct intervention, by putting up candidates. The boldest and best known of these initiatives was that of the Lok Satta party in Andhra Pradesh. Led by former bureaucrat Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan, the energy, the organisational seriousness and public transparency of this party has set an example for future attempts at alternative politics.
Some other attempts did not figure at all in the national and regional media as they were more localised and did not have a media-savvy middle class face. Karnataka Sarvodaya, an extraordinary political party that has emerged from Dalit and farmers’ movements, put up four candidates in Karnataka. The Samajwadi Jan Parishad, a political formation born from the grassroots, fielded seven candidates in Kerala, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and West Bengal. The performance of its candidate in Bargarh Assembly constituency in Orissa merits close attention. The Tamil Nadu Women’s Front and the Jharkhand Ulgoolan Party have put up two candidates each. Several ‘lok ummeedvar’ (peoples’ candidates) have been fielded by groups in U.P. and M.P. Many of these groups have come together under a national umbrella called the Lok Rajniti Manch.
These parties and candidates may not appear ‘successful’ when votes are counted on May 16. Their success or failure should be measured by the extent to which they succeed in responding to the paradox of political participation.
The growing lack of political choices cannot be countered by celebrity candidates or high-profile media or NGO campaigns. Attempts to look in this direction can only deepen a sense of frustration and helplessness. The real challenge is to turn disenchantment with politics and politicians into a creative force for an alternative kind of politics. Election 2009 is a small but vital step in that direction.
Yogendra Yadav is a Senior Fellow at CSDS and is associated with the Lok Rajniti Manch and the Samajwadi Jan Parishad mentioned in this article]
[Pursuit of justice can be much enhanced by open and well-aimed public discussion
Amartya Sen's story of justice Times of India - 26 July 2009 Rashmee Roshan Lall - In an exclusive interview with The Times of India, the Nobel laureate speaks about his most ambitious book yet. 10:48 AM]
The democracy in India is in a bad shape. Many pitfalls stem from the Constitution but most are perpetuated through bad practices and precedents. These are forgotten after the elections. They must be talked about instead. [TNM]