The people are "losing faith" on politicians as they are feeling "powerless", Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar said on Monday and favoured strengthening the Panchayati Raj for more decentralisation of power.
Addressing a function organised to pay homage to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, Aiyar said Gandhi believed in making the people part of the development process.
"He gave emphasis on Indian socialism -- not one which requires you to read Marx or Lenin but one which focuses on the poor and common man. We should not be proud of 9% GDP growth when the UN development index shows that we have not moved up since 1994," he said.
Aiyar said the situation has not changed "because we still depend on the same bureaucracy about which Gandhi had said that of the one rupee spent on development, only 15 paisa reaches the people."
He said people are "losing faith" on politicians.
"Ask anyone... they will say politicians are all thieves. Parliament only witnesses disruption. They say so because they are feeling powerless. People will have to be made part of the development process and decentralisation of power will have to be ensured through proper Panchayati Raj, as was the dream of Gandhi," he said.
He said Gandhi believed in ideals of non-violence, secularism and non-alignment and promoted a foreign policy "which stressed that we would not exert pressure any country nor would buckle under pressure from anyone."
"Policies should be made and followed by us based on his principles. We will have to follow secularism and a foreign policy which will call the right thing and the wrong thing wrong," Aiyar said.
Information and Broadcasting minister Ambika Soni said Rajiv Gandhi ensured 33 per cent reservation for women in panchayats, which has proved to be a successful experiment. Despite efforts, bill for reservation of women in Parliament and assemblies could only be passed in Rajya Sabha after "many hurdles", he said.
Congress leaders Satyabrat Chaturvedi, Matilal Vora and Rajiv Shukla were present in the function in which a book "Rajiv Gandhi ka Sapno ka Bharat" written by Amethi-based Jagdish Piyush was released.