Survey organised by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan

As the countdown to the 2014 general election begins, a campaign for government accountability, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, on Thursday announced the launch of a national people’s manifesto.

The organisation plans a survey on issues of gender and religious discrimination and how to end poverty and social exclusion.

Convenor Paul Divakar said about 3,000 non-government organisations will be working in 250 Parliamentary constituencies across 22 States, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Assam, to get feedback from the electorate.

Views of people

“Representatives of these organisations will try to get views of the people, especially marginalised communities like the minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and persons with disabilities, about the problems plaguing them and what they expect from the new dispensation at the Centre,” he said.

Mr. Divakar further said: “We will collect views of diverse groups on different issues like whether the Mahatma Gandhi Naional Rural Employment GuaranteeAct was useful to them and what the marginalised communities want to see in the next budget. We will also get views of the electorate in high-profile constituencies such as Rahul Gandhi’s constituency of Amethi and other stalwarts of the Congress and the BJP.”

Mr. Divakar said that in 2009 only the Left parties had incorporated the organisation’s manifesto, but this time he was hopeful that other parties would also respond positively.

“We will ask the Congress why it has been taking the Dalits for granted and the BJP about the need to maintain communal harmony. We will also seek feedback from the minorities in riot-inflicted areas of Gujarat, and Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh,” said Mr. Divakar.

The convenor said the organisation will assimilate different views of the middle-class and those living on the fringes of poverty, facing the heat of high prices of food and consumer goods, communal carnage and massive corruption by politicians. It plans to complete the manifesto by March next year. The manifesto will be presented to major political parties, including the Congress, the BJP and the Left parties, and they will be urged to include the issues in their own manifestos.

Youth cynical

Noting that the youth today are cynical of politicians’ ability to fulfil their promises, Commuting The Youth Collective’s Mahamaya Navlakha said disillusionment has set in a large number of young men.

“So we are encouraging Generation-X to become a part of the political process. Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will be efficaciously used. We will ask gender groups to speak collectively about issues confronting them and their expectations from candidates.”

Nari-O-Sishu Kalyan Kendra secretary Rahima Khatun, who will be gathering feedback in West Bengal, said the minority in her State faces lack of livelihood opportunities and education.

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