70 citizen groups join hands, launch people's manifesto

70 citizen groups join hands, launch people's manifesto

As many as 70 citizen groups, including Indian Labour Union, Environment Support Group, All India Society of Human Rights Organisation, and individual activists released the 'Civil Society Forum's manifesto' for the May 12 Assembly elections in Bengaluru on Friday.

The people's manifesto was to be submitted to the state party presidents of all political parties contesting the Assembly elections. While those from the BJP and the Congress gave this civic body meet a miss, former minister P G R Sindhia, a senior leader of JD(S), attended the event and promised to implement most demands that are presented in the manifesto, if his party is voted to power.

People's manifesto has sought political parties to strengthen the Lokayukta institution by allowing it to initiate suo motu action against officials and elected representatives without having to seek permission from the government; to effectively enforce Sakala; universalise basic rights such as food, water, education and health and give a minimum support price (MSP) for crops, based on M S Swaminathan formula that gives 1.5 times the input cost to the farmer.

Kathyayini Chamaraj, a civic activist, presented the manifesto and said, "Leaders belonging to political parties never interact with citizens to know what are the actual demands and requirements of the people."

Sindhia said that he has lost faith in the citizens of the country, especially after seeing Manik Sarkar, former chief minister of Tripura and veteran Marxist leader, losing the recent Assembly elections in the northeastern state.

"However, there is a frail hope when I see active citizens like this who bring hope to millions of people who are struggling in life, especially those who are physically challenged and socially downtrodden," Sindhia said.

He said that the democratic processes within the community or parties are being lost. "Ironically, we are living in times where we portray that ours is the biggest democracy in the world and stand for it. However, it is unfortunate to say that there is no internal democracy within political parties."

Ashwin Mahesh, urban expert representing Aam Aadmi Party and Babu Mathew, resident professor, NLSIU were present.

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