Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Varanasi: Kejriwal set to file nomination papers, slams 'helicopter politics' // Mumbai: Medha Patkar reports Tremendous Response from Voters

Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday stepped up his attack on Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial nominee Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi before filing his nomination papers for the high-profile electoral contest in the temple town of Varanasi. Kejriwal denounced their "helicopter politics" and criticised the condition of Varanasi's infrastructure and spoke about citizens' problems during his roadshow. "We do not need helicopter politics any more. People want their lives to be improved," he said. The AAP leader talked about Gandhi's constituency saying all the people of Amethi see is the Congress vice-president in his helicopter and when people go to him in Delhi they are beaten up and driven away.

"In Amethi, people have been voting for Gandhi family for 30 years but no progress happened. They have been cheated." He also criticised Modi, from whom he faces a stiff competition in Varanasi, and said he could at least travel by road. "Just as Amethi voters have been cheated, let Varanasi voters not be cheated, let them not say 'look there is Modi in his chopper'." "This is the struggle of people who want to see an India free of corruption. People are saying 'let's vote for someone who is accessible'. I have the blessings of the people." Last month, Kejriwal had announced he will contest from the Varanasi Lok Sabha seat after the BJP's decision to field Modi from the city, considered one of the most prestigious constituencies in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh.
The 45-year-old AAP leader, who had led his fledgling party to a spectacular victory in the Delhi assembly polls in December last year, has been trying to replicate the successful Delhi campaign model in the town by holding road shows and corner meetings across Varanasi. The AAP will now intensify its campaign in Varanasi till the city votes May 12. Kejriwal will campaign in each of the five assembly segments of the city for two days from Thursday. This schedule would be apart from the AAP workers' door-to-door campaigning to garner support from the people in Varanasi where the BJP has been running an aggressive campaign to consolidate its vote bank. The AAP is also mobilising its cadre from adjoining districts of Varanasi.
In 2009 Lok Sabha election, senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi had won the seat defeating gangster-turned-politician Mukhtar Ansari by a margin of 17,000 votes. Quami Ekta Dal's Ansari, who is known to have a strong support base among Muslims, has decided not to contest against Modi from the seat "to avoid division of secular votes". The four-time MLA from Mau is currently lodged in Agra jail in BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai murder case. Congress has fielded Ajay Rai, a Varanasi local, who is an MLA from Pindra assembly constituency. Samajwadi Party candidate Kailash Chaurasiya is also a sitting MLA from nearby Mirzapur. Both Rai and Chaurasiya have already filed their nominations. BSP's Vijay Prakash Jaisawal will contest the elections from Varanasi while CPI(M) has given ticket to veteran party worker Heera Lal Yadav. Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress has given the ticket to Indira Tiwari.
The entry of Modi and Kejriwal has escalated the political temperature in the battle turning it into one of the most keenly watched contests in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Modi will file nomination on April 24, the last day. Exuding confidence about pulling off a surprise, Kejriwal has said people of Varanasi will stand behind him and defeat the BJP strongman while the saffron party feels Modi will not face any significant fight in the constituency. The constituency has around 1.5 lakh Muslim voters and Kejriwal has been trying hard to woo the community. Polling in Varanasi would be held in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 12.
Mumbai: Medha Patkar reports Tremendous Response from Voters
Press Note: April 22, 2014
With Tremendous Response from Voters, Campaign Ends on High Note:
Vows to continue challenging the Modi-fied Politics and Expose the Corruption of NCP

As the campaign for the 16th Lok Sabha draws to a closure today, the campaign witnessed tremendous response from wide range of people in the Mumbai North East constituency. This response and the large number of issues emerging is also because of the failure of Corporator, MLAs and MP in discharging their duties as elected representatives. None of them taken any steps to curb the fundamental corruption involved in the projects. There has not been any attempt to policy making focussing amenities and housing. People’s response to our campaign was because of we raising these issues in the past years and because of their faith in our continuous work on those issues.

Out of my nearly 40 years of work, the 17 years I worked in Mumbai has given me an inside out knowledge about the basic issues of the constituency. This election is important for us, as we seek larger representation of people in decision making and to continue raise those issue with more strength and vigour. Hence we make a pledge to implement all national level commitments by Aam Aadmi Party in its Manifesto and in the Mumbai Manifesto. Further, we issue a Mumbai North East specific prime issues pledging that we will leave no stone unturned to fulfil those. We also reiterate that all our efforts will be participatory, transparent and accountable, involving the people of the constituency across the caste-class-creed-gender differences, and political ideologies.

Hence we appeal to the voters to join us in these efforts, with their strengths and commitment, to bring in change and make our city corruption free. We will achieve this together with participation of people from all walks of life, contribution of professional skills and inputs from experts.

Modi’s lies and threat to not just secular fabric, but even dalits, adivasis and downtrodden
In a rally addressed by Modi in Mumbai yesterday he said that "Maharshtra would get electricity worth Rs 400 crores for free if the project (Sardar Sarovar Narmada project) was completed." The blatant lie repeated for the second time in this election season is another attempt t to mislead the people. Maharashtra, which has also sacrificed a few thousands crores of revenue, by submergence of 33 hilly adivasi villages, will lose 9500 ha of land, parts of it are forests, in the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP). Additionally she spends Rs.3000 crores in proportion to the 27% of power from the project. SSP is an interstate project, with financial commitment by each of the party states. How can then the power be free to Maharashtra?
While Modi builds his campaign on lies and twisted facts, he poses a serious threat to the secular fabric of the country. By his silence isn’t Modi supporting Vishwa Hindu Parishad's (VHP) president Pravin Togadia’s communal venom in Bhavnagar by saying “evict Muslims from Hindu areas”?

His outlook towards the dalits and socially marginalised is evident from his reported statement sometime earlier where he, observed while releasing his book Samajik Samrasata, that dalits were like mentally retarded children. What an irony, somebody who does not respect the dalits and marginalised writes a book with its title Samajik Samrasata (Social Equity)!

Last year, The Gujarat High Court ordered the Gujarat government to strictly adhere to the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of) Forest Rights Act, 2006, and the rules framed thereafter under this central Act. The order came on a public interest litigation (PIL) by a group of NGOs, which said the state government was violating the provisions of the Act in deciding the claims of tribals and had arbitrarily rejected more than one lakh such claims.

It will be a figment imagination, generated by aggressive advertisement that Modi with a proved track record for being anti poor, anti dalit, anti adivasi and minorities could lead the country which is built on the foundations of secularism, tolerance and respect to each other.
We will stand by dalits, who apart from asserting their identity and dignity, faces the challenge of getting the basic rights, as upheld in the Constitution, as envisioned by Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar. The positive discrimination and reservation will be implemented only when they stand united.

If Modi around, can NCP be far behind? We will challenge the corrupt party NCP, who are involved in scams worth thousands of crores. Some of them include, irrigation scam, Gosikhurd canal scam, sugar factory scam, even the former Member of Parliament seem to have contributed to corrupt practices in using the MPLAD funds. By not raising the corruption issues in this Constituency, such as allotment of MHADA land, rehabilitation of slum dwellers and in infrastructure projects, he has permitted the corrupt practices.
He cannot shrug the responsibility of his inability to curb corruption, failure to address the fundamental issues of the constituency and not being around for the people when the people needed him most.

We will launch enquiries into all those allegations of corruption once the elections are over.
We appeal to all voters of the Constituency to come out in large numbers on the voting day, cast their vote and be a part of the democratic process. We appeal to the voters to cast their vote in favour of honesty, accountability and good governance and against corruption, communalism and injustice.

Medha Patkar
Narmada Bachao Andolan,
Narmada-Ashish, Off Kasravad Road,
Navalpura, Badwani,
Madhya Pradesh – 451551
Ph: 07290-291464; Fax: 07290-222549
E-mail: medha.narmada@gmail.com ; nba.medha@gmail.com

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