GUWAHATI, April 2 – The nascent People’s Campaign for Good Governance, Assam (PCGGA) launched its formal campaign to make the people aware of their roles in the State’s democratic setup, particularly in the elections, with a public meeting this morning at the Machkhowa ITA Centre for Performing Arts here.
The most significant aspect of the function was the participation of hundreds of people belonging to the organisations of the petty retailers, who operate from the city pavements as well as the domestic helps. Representatives of a good number of other civil society organisations also took part in the proceedings of the meeting.
Though the size of the participants is very insignificant compared to the size of the entire population of the State, but the resolve demonstrated by them to root out corruption from public life and to make elections free and fair was significant and bodes well for the State’s society plagued by corruption in public life.
The organisers of the meet, who include Hare Krishna Deka, Paresh Malakar, Dudul Moni Sarma, Manisha Behal, Bina Sarma and Benudhar Barua, Walter Fernandes and Sabita Lahkar, among others, made an appeal to the people to be critical towards the politicians and their parties.
The people should question the approaches of the politicians and their parties towards the basic problems facing the society, they said.
The people should ask the politicians, particularly the election candidates, and their parties to explain their plans for the overall economic development of the State. The politicians should also be made to confront the question on their plans to root out corruption from the Government offices and public life, said the organisers.
In his address, Hare Krishna Deka said, referring to a study conducted by the Centre for Media Studies (CMS), that one out of every three below poverty line (BPL) families of the country are made to practise bribery, directly or indirectly, for public services.
Again the voters are made to cough up ten times more every year for each of the ten rupees they receive from the candidates of the elections.
Bribery practised by the politicians has made the election cost to go up by five times in the country, he said, referring to the above study, which has incorporated a study carried out since 2004.
Moreover, he said, based on the above study, that the political parties have so far spent Rs 8,000 crore in the name of election propaganda. And most of this amount is spent on bribing the voters, he said.
It needs mention here that the Assam Nagarik Samaj, Actionaid, Anwesha, North East Network, Abhiyatri, Greater Guwahati Citizens’ Coordination Committee, North Eastern Social Research Centre, Step and some members of the Guwahati Press Club, some students of Gauhati University, Cotton College and some advocates of the Gauhati High Court have recently launched the PCGGA.
Original Story: Assam Tribune