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|From: Media Swaraj Abhiyan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 14 April 2016 3:28:23 pm IST
Subject: [NSC SA] Press Note: Swaraj Abhiyan completes one year
Swaraj Abhiyan completes one year
§ Swaraj Abhiyan completes one year, announces the schedule for its internal elections in line with its promise of internal democracy.
§ In the first year, Swaraj Abhiyan raises issues of agrarian distress, corruption, education and communalism.
§ Kamini Jaiswal and Pawan Gupta to be the Lokpal of Swaraj Abhiyan.
§ Membership campaign in more than 200 districts across the country, 117 districts in thirteen different states have crossed the threshold for holding internal elections.
§ Swaraj Abhiyan to run a pilot project of people’s participation in candidate selection in one of the wards of upcoming MCD by-election.
Swaraj Abhiyan, a movement for alternative politics, has completed one year of its formation today. The organisation came into existence at the Swaraj Samwad held in Gurgaon on the same day a year ago.
The first task it undertook was to establish a dialogue with volunteers, well-wishers and supporters from all parts of the country through 21 Swaraj Samwads. Beginning with the Samwad held on April 14 at Gurgaon where an overwhelming numbers of supporters and volunteers pledged their support, the journey of Swaraj Samwad moved from Gurgaon, Bangalore, Guwahati, Islampur, Kolkata, Ludhiana, Karnal, Ghaziabad, Dehradun, Samba (J&K), Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Vijaywada, Bhubaneshwar, Allahabad, Patna, Varanasi, Pune, Ujjain, Meerut to Jaipur covering almost every part of the country.
Tractor March & Farmers’ Rally
The first cause taken up by Swaraj Abhiyan was for the right of farmers over their land. At a time when Modi sarkar was adamant on passing the draconian land acquisition (amendment) bill, Jai Kisan Andolan, an umbrella outfit of farmers organisations formed by Swaraj Abhiyan, held a ten day tractor march from Thikriwal (district Barnala , Punjab) that culminated in a huge farmers’ rally onAugust 10 at Jantar Mantar. The overwhelming nationwide participation of farmers in the Jai Kisan Andolan was enough to rattle the government and around 100 of our peacefully protesting volunteers along with Yogendra Yadav were arrested in a midnight police crackdown. The government’s action was condemned across party lines and the unlawful police act was reprimanded by the judiciary. Finally, the Modi government had to bow down before public pressure and had to withdraw its unjustified amendments to the land acquisition bill.
When it came to light that around 40 % the country’s land mass was facing a severe drought crisis, Jai Kisan Andolan took up a Samvedna Yatra through the drought affected regions of the country. The yatra began on October 2 (Gandhi Jayanti) from Yadgir in northern Karnataka covering more than 4500 kms. through Karnataka, Telengana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, UP, Rajasthan culminating in Haryana. The Samvedna Yatra was the first initiative that brought public attention to the crisis being faced by rural India.
Swaraj Abhiyan then conducted a survey in Bundelkhand along with noted economist Jean Dreze, the findings of which showed the drought situation to be alarming. During the Yatra through various drought affected states, Yogendra Yadav wrote letters to respective Chief Ministers with suggestions to tackle the looming crisis situation. Following this, the UP government issued a number of orders for drought relief in Bundelkhand. The communication to Maharashtra CM suggested ways to tackle the impending crisis of drinking water, which engulfs the state today.
Drought relief case in Supreme Court
After intensive campaign on the ground, Swaraj Abhiyan approached the Supreme Court to direct Central and 12 state governments to ensure immediate relief to drought hit people. The apex court has heard this matter on a serious and priority basis. Prashant Bhushan is arguing this case which is scheduled for final hearing on Tuesday, 19 April. The case has already forced the Central and various State governments to announce a series of additional measures for drought relief.
Anti Corruption Team & Citizen’s Whistle Blower Forum
Swaraj Abhiyan is committed to its anti corruption movement and has taken up numerous issues in the last one year led by Prashant Bhushan. Through a series of expose related to black money, institutional corruption by governments to corruption in the name of corporate debt restructuring, Swaraj Abhiyan has been at the forefront of the fight against corruption. On February 27-28, a two day national convention (ACT Now) was held in Delhi which saw participation of anti corruption crusaders and RTI activists from across the country. Swaraj Abhiyan facilitated the formation of an independent Citizen’s Whistleblower Forum led by Justice (Retd) AP Shah. The founding members of the forum Justice Santosh Hegde, EAS Sarma, Wajahat Habibullah, Admiral L Ramdas, Ms Aruna Roy, Professor Jagdeep Chhokar and Prashant Bhushan resolved to continue the fight against corruption in a more focussed manner.
Youth and Shiksha Swaraj
Under the guidance of National President, Professor Anand Kumar, a Shiksha Swaraj Youth Summit was held at the Mavlankar Hall on November 3. Taking a cue from the Allahabad High Court order directing government officers and public representatives to admit their kids in government schools, Swaraj Abhiyan organised campaigns in various states demanding equity in education. Swaraj Abhiyan gave strong voice to the agitation for non NET fellowship. After the sad demise of Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University, Swaraj Abhiyan has filed RTIs and campaigned for the compliance of UGC guidelines to end caste based discrimination on campuses.
In the last one year Swaraj Abhiyan has raised its voice against communal forces and contributed effectively in countering the politics of hate, discrimination and disharmony among various sections of the society. Swaraj Abhiyan is forming Aman Committees representing all communities all over the country to consistently promote co-ordination, interaction and develop harmony and peace between people of different communities. Swaraj Abhiyan has conducted conventions in Mumbai, Varanasi and Allahabad under the Aman Committee initiative. On the initiative of Swaraj Abhiyan various organisations that have contributed in the cause of harmony and peace building have come together to form a body called the Nirbhaya Mumbai. Swaraj Abhiyan joined others to set up Sadbhavna Manch in Haryana to restore peace in Haryana, following caste violence in February this year.
Membership report & Organisational Election Schedule
Today, political parties have diluted the definition of membership in order to compete with each other in numbers. The manner in which members are made through simple “missed calls” show the intent of parties about holding internal elections. Any organisation committed to internal democracy has to be serious with membership and devise mechanisms to avoid frivolous and bogus membership. Accordingly, Swaraj Abhiyan has kept its membership fee at Rs 50 and a foolproof system to ensure authentic and active members has been made.
Swaraj Abhiyan’s membership is ongoing in more than 200 districts of the country. In 117 districts (list attached at the end) Swaraj Abhiyan has crossed its requisite threshold for holding of organisational elections in the following states: Delhi, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh. As of today, more than 20,000 volunteers have enrolled as members of Swaraj Abhiyan all over the country. Committed to its principle of a transparency, accountability and internal democracy, Swaraj Abhiyan announces the schedule for bottom-up organisational elections that would result in duly constituted and elected committees at the district, state and national level within the next three months.
§ Membership data on SA website: April 30
§ Last date for sending objections: May 07
§ Elections for District Committees: by May 31
§ Elections for State Committees: by June 15
§ Election of National Committees and office bearers: by July 14
Transparency and Accountability
Swaraj Abhiyan has made its income expenditure and list of voluntary contributors public on its website.
Swaraj Abhiyan has also made the minutes of important meetings, National Steering Committee (NSC) and National Working Committee (NWC) meetings and the lists of NSC and NWC members public on its website.
Ms. Kamini Jaiswal and Pawan Gupta to be the first Lokpal for Swaraj Abhiyan.
Ms. Kamini Jaiswal, a noted lawyer of Supreme Court and a member of the Committee on Judicial Accountability, has been a crusader for human rights nad has worked courageously to improve the accountability of Judges. She was involved in a number of PILs including the one filed by the Center for Public Interest Litigation in the 2G scam case.
Pawan Gupta, a graduate from IIT Delhi, left a commercially successful stint to change the course of his life in search of a deeper meaning. He started schools in the rural areas of Mussorie with no formal setup and gradually went on to form the Society for Integrated Development of Himalayas pioneering innovative educational for the rural children.
Swaraj Abhiyan will experiment a new model of people’s participation in one of the wards of the upcoming MCD by-election.
One of the root causes of corrupt practices and sycophancy in political culture is that the candidate selection process suffers from high-command supremo culture and is completely undemocratic and opaque. As per its commitment to transparency, accountability and inner party democracy, Swaraj Abhiyan is trying to experiment with a model of “candidate selection process” in order to find a people’s candidate (Lok-Umeedwar) and empower citizens in selecting their own candidates. Swaraj Abhiyan is not a political party but the upcoming by-election in Delhi MCD is an occasion to create a model of how it may intervene in electoral politics in the future.
Following is the list of districts in various states where the membership of Swaraj Abhiyan has crossed the threshold of 100 members for holding internal elections.
Khagaria, Rohtas, Sitamarhi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur, Begusarai, Chhapra, Gopalganj, Siwan, Gaya, Nalanda, Nawada, Saran
Amethi, Aligarh, Allahabad, Azamgarh, Banda, Etah, Etawah, Faizabad, Firozabad, Gorakhpur, Ghaziabad, Jaunpur, Lalitpur, Lucknow, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Rae Bareli, Saharanpur, Sant Ravidas Nagar, Unnao, Varanasi, Sambhal
Bageshwar, Nainital, Pauri, Garhwal, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal
Thane, Mumbai, Pune, Solapur, Nasik, Aurangabad, Parbhani, Latur, Buldhana, Amravati
Alirajpur, Anupur, Bhind, Chhattarpur, Dhar, Gwalior, Hosangabad, Indore, Morena, Rewa, Ujjain, Umaria
Bhiwani, Faridabad, Gurgaon, Jind, Kaithal, Karnal, Mewat, Palwal, Rewari, Yamunanagar
Amritsar, Fatehgarh Sahib, Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Kapurthala, Ludhiana, Mohali, Patiala, SAS Nagar
JAMMU & KASHMIR
Anantanag, Jammu, Kathua, Pulwama
Bardhaman, Paschim Medinipur, Uttar Dinajpur, Kolkata, Malda, Howrah, Dakshin Parganas, Uttar Parganas
Bangalore Urban, Shimoga
Chandni Chowk 1, Chandni Chowk 2, East Delhi 1, East Delhi 2, New Delhi 1, New Delhi 2, North-east Delhi 1, North-east Delhi 2, North-west Delhi 1, North-west Delhi 2, South Delhi 1, South Delhi 2, West Delhi 1, West Delhi 2
A-189, Sec-43, Noida UP