March 23rd, New Delhi: Marking the Martyrs day of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, a five thousand strong rally of farmers, workers, adivasis, dalit men, women and children marched from Shaheed Bhagat Singh Park to Sansad Marg on the concluding day of the first Rashtriya Jan Sansad (National People’s Parliament). Medha Patkar, led the march along with social movement leaders from North East to Gujarat and from Punjab to Tamilnadu in which nearly 150 organisations from 20 states participated. Bhagat Singh had challenged the unjust and imperialist colonial British Parliament for which he was hanged. Medha pointed out that, “We are here today on the Sansad Marg to challenge the corporate driven, unjust and exploitative growth, being pushed by every government since the early 90s, not with bombs but with our moral force, truth and non-violent struggles of the antim aadmi and aurat”. We stand vindicated today as we have exposed, by our struggles and deliberations in the Jan Sansad over last three days, the falsehood of Indian prosperity and growth story. India is not shining, it is dying. Reduction of criteria of below poverty line by the Planning Commission will not reduce the number of poor in this country. The country has lost faith in the Planning Commission and its centralised planning which has completely neglected the gram sabha and ward sabha plans. Montek Singh Ahluwalia must resign, time has come to resign and retire. Ms. Patkar further added that we are to defend the constitution. “Those protesting in Koodankulam are being labelled as anti-national. They are not traitors. They are real heroes of the country.” Jan Sansad endorsed and gave a call for a fast on 27th of March across the country which will be observed in 20 states by those who came to the people’s parliament.
The three day Jan Sansad deliberated on the critical issues facing the nation today which have led to mass suicides, displacement, impoverishment and all round destruction of natural resaources; on the critical issues of development such as food security, equitable budget, corporate plunder of resources, community rights over resources, electoral reforms, issues of unorganised work force. The Trickle Down theory, pushed forward by interests advocating for liberal reforms, has failed to fulfil its promise. Jan Sansad demands that the unorganised and unprotected sector of workers, who are 93% of our population, be given their due now. NREGA workers from states of Sitapur, Nanao, and Nandoi in Uttar Pradesh and Araria in Bihar demanded for NREGA wages be equal to minimum wages prescribed by the States and for a 365 day Right to Work program.
In its report to the Parliament, the Jan Sansad demanded comprehensive electoral reforms which will reflect the reality of the entire nation including that of labourers, adivasis, workers, women, muslims and other minority communities. The Jan sansad rally was joined by Justice Rajendra Sachchar, Swami Agnivesh, Devasahayam MG, Arvind Kejrival, Sanjay Parikh, Suhas Borkar and other senior activists from movements across the country. The Jan Sansad ended with the decision to take forward this process to other States and districts.
Lok Shakti Abhiyan, National Alliance of Peoples’ Movement
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