Melukolupu, a year-long campaign to ‘safeguard democracy’ ahead of the general elections in 2014 was launched at the meet hosted by NAPM

Magsaysay awardee ‘Waterman’ Rajendra Singh on Friday said what Indians were witnessing was a ‘contractor-led democracy’, where those who obtained lucrative contracts, financed elections in return.

In such a scenario, the need of the hour was to elect those actively involved in people’s movements to the corridors of power, said Mr. Singh, who is known for his pioneering efforts at rain water harvesting and management.

“We need to go beyond political parties and their ideology and support people whose roots are strong; those with impeccable credentials who will contest as Independents,” he said, addressing a meeting organised by the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM).

Campaign launched

‘Melukolupu’, a year-long ‘Campaign to Safeguard Democracy’ keeping in mind the 2014 general elections, was launched here on Friday in the presence of a modest gathering at the Press Club in Basheerbagh.

Among those who spoke at the venue included Magsaysay awardee and co-founder, Asha for Education, Sandeep Pandey; convenor, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, Nikhil Dey; NAPM-A.P convenor B. Ramakrishna Raju and joint convenors Saraswati Kavula and P.S. Ajay.

On entering politics

Mr. Dey raised the issue of those in political movements participating in the electoral process and said it had become a dilemma with some of them getting caught in the political vortex, and others not getting elected the second time. He said that while opposing the present system of policymaking and governance, it was imperative for them to have an alternative backed by ideology and an action plan.

There was general consensus that at least 10 per cent of seats in Parliament and the Legislative Assemblies of States and local bodies should be occupied by people who have actively participated in movements. Only then would there be a difference in policymaking, they said.