Intense citizens’ activism post 26/11 and an experiment in Juhu that gave the city its first ever citizen corporator have encouraged the Lok Satta Party to formally enter the political fray.
Lok Satta, a citizens’ group that has been working for political and administrative reforms, has decided to launch the Lok Satta Party to contest the next Lok Sabha and Assembly polls. It will field candidates from the six Parliamentary seats in Greater Mumbai.
The objective is to introduce “new politics for the new generation”. It also plans to contest the Assembly polls later in 2009 and the corporation elections in 2012.
The party will field candidates elected democratically. “We have set up an independent election authority, not comprising party members,” said Surendra Srivastava, president of the organisation’s Maharashtra chapter. “We have invited applications for memberships and candidature.” The party has called upon young, “public- spirited” professionals to join and is inviting applications on its website www.loksatta.org.
“This is not about winning,” said Srivastava. “Even if we get five per cent of votes, it will indicate that this kind of politics is sustainable and can attract the brightest people from society.”
Surendra Jondhale, head of the department of civics and politics, University of Mumbai, said the move has its positives and negatives. “This is a good community initiative if citizens of a particular area arrive at a consensus on the candidate,” said Jondhale. “But it is also true that candidates who are not from political parties find it difficult to assert themselves in the corporation or Parliament.”
Srivastava hopes that this will send out a message to political parties. “They will notice that if they don’t change their ways, then a new political platform will emerge.”