It is the responsibility of the State to guarantee the distribution of goods and services across society by treating the people as equals. Over the years, despite lofty claims by political parties, fact remains that governments at the Centre and in the States, including Madhya Pradesh, have failed to address the issue of rising inequality and inequities. -Lalit Shastri, President Ugta Suraj Party
Lalit Shastri, the President of the newly launched political party – Ugta Suraj Party (USP)- is rattled by the fact that successive governments have failed to recognise the importance of equity and how it is linked to development.
In an exclusive interview, Shastri said his party is aware and wants to convey in categorical terms that it is the responsibility of the State to guarantee the distribution of goods and services across society by treating the people as equals. Over the years, despite lofty claims by political parties, fact remains that governments at the Centre and in the States, including Madhya Pradesh, have failed to address the issue of rising inequality and inequities. Instead, what the previous UPA -1 and UPA -2, headed by Manmohan Singh, did was that they aped the cash transfer policy that was being followed in Brazil and Mexico without bothering even an iota about its pitfall and the impact it would leave on the middle class wage earners and the economic growth of the country. The same strategy has been mastered by the present NDA regime at the Centre and also the State Governments. The cash transfer scheme has been institutionalised and perpetuated even further by them.
Another problem, according to Shastri, is that those manning the government’s administrative set up have neither been trained nor motivated to be pragmatic. When it comes to the government’s working, what’s generally missing is justice with fairness and moral rectitude. This spirit is mostly absent when the ministers or officials put down their noting, issue orders or pass on instructions to their subordinates for implementation
Shastri spoke at length on the deteriorating law and order situation, people’s growing concern about national security, black money and the menace of money laundering. The nation is at cross-roads, he said adding after the economic mess caused by demonetisation, we have just witnessed the way the Government of Haryana and the Centre so blatantly abdicated their constitutional responsibility to prevent the supporters of a rapist self-proclaimed godman, who has had over-riding influence over the ruling elite, from indulging in bloody violence which has resulted in the loss of so many precious lives and property.
Focusing on the issue of rising inequality and inequities, Shastri said, we recognise equity as a central goal for programming and framing policies. We are committed to all-round economic growth, speedy and sustainable development. Our focused attention will be on human welfare and people’s happiness. This will be achieved with focused thrust on human resource development – from the primary to higher technical education level, coupled with development of the economic infrastructure on a mission mode.
Addressing rising inequity is firmly in our agenda, Shastri emphasised. We are aware that due to gaps that governments have failed to fill, it will be difficult to rapidly bring about equity but we will never be lagging behind and shall be working on a time-bound programme to overcome this challenge, said Shastri.
The USP chief said: ” We strongly feel that there is a huge void in Madhya Pradesh and there is a need for a new political party, with strong local roots, mass following, and commitment to the larger public good, to fill the political space in Madhya Pradesh, It is necessary to prevent the State from entering the single party era.”
Shastri further said:
Politics in Madhya Pradesh has been polarised between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party right since the formation of Madhya Pradesh. After the BJP came to power in the State in 2003, the Congress has lost much ground due to obvious rivalry and cut-throat competition between national level party leaders from the State and the regional satraps known for their divided loyalties. What has added to the Congress’ woes and sealed its fate in Madhya Pradesh is the rock-bottom credibility of the Sonia-Rahul leadership which has gone into a tailspin.
Taking advantage of the Congress party’s weaknesses, the ruling BJP in Madhya Pradesh succeed in ensuring its support base grows in geometric progression and fortunately for the BJP in the last elections -first the Assembly and then Lok Sabha – it’s level of support increased phenomenally and was almost bursting at the seams -the second time more due to the hype generated by Shri Narendra Modi during his campaign as the prime ministerial candidate. Due to the charges of corruption against UPA-1 and UPA-2 and the sagging image of the Congress party, the BJP in Madhya Pradesh did not face the anti-incumbency factor and returned to power for the third time in a row in 2013 with a thumping majority.
Next year, when the State goes to polls, too much water would have flown through the Narmada. The State has witnessed the worst farm crisis in many years and so many farmers have died in the recent police firing. The officers and employees, hundreds of thousands of them belonging to the unreserved category, are up in arms against the State BJP government and more particularly the State Chief Minister, who has chosen to defy the Jabalpur High Court order of 2016 declaring as unconstitutional the Madhya Pradesh rule for Reservation in promotion for officers and employees belonging to the SC/ST categories. On the chief minister’s direct intervention, the State Government has gone to the Supreme Court challenging the High Court order and hefty fees is being paid to the Supreme Court lawyers representing the State Government against the interests of officers from the unreserved category, who have been denied promotions despite their seniority and merit whereas their junior SC/ST officers, even with negative remarks in their confidential reports, have been promoted above them. This has lowered the morale of officers with merit and seniority. As a result even administrative efficiency has been compromised against the letter and spirit of the Constitution.
Corruption is on the rise in MP. The VYAPAM scam linked with medical admission exams and recruitment of employees in several government departments, which has sealed the fate of so many bright students is a national shame. Illegal mining has played havoc with the ecological system. The forests have been depleting at a rapid pace in the State and consequently, the rapidly falling water table is also matter of deep concern. Joblessness, poverty, maternal and infant mortality, poor standard of education and health care are issues that have not received focused attention under successive governments in the State.
People have the right and they deserve a choice to pick a political alternative if the ruling party fails to come up to the their expectations.
The people’s fate should not revolve around doles and too many welfare schemes. It is high time, people are empowered at the socio-economic level and also politically so that they can hold the ruling party accountable by voting it out during elections when it fails to guarantee good governance, which is so essential for improving the quality of life of the people.
The url of Ugta Suraj Party’s website is: https://myusp.net