Most right thinking people have been deeply perturbed by the developments in the state political scenario leading up to the election. The developments during the campaign period has been equally disturbing marked as it has been by massive illegal use of money power and illegitimate methods to garner votes by almost all main stream political parties. In this context, the out come of the polls on May 16th doesn't hold much promise for the state's future as such. With most serious candidates having invested by conservative accounts several crores of unaccounted for money in their effort to win the election, one can not expect any of them to work for the people's welfare in good faith sacrificing their personal interest and the interest of the sources of funding. The civil society has been completely sidelined in the process and the feeble attempts of various groups such as Election Watch has had very little impact on the process and the same is likely to be the case post-May 16th in terms of governance and development. In summary, we have reached the nadir of political life in post-independence Orissa as far as probity, ethics and values in public life is concerned.
In this context the need of the hour is serious introspection by all those who agree with the above analysis and come up with a blue print for an alternative road map for the state going forward. The younger generation certainly holds the key to future developments in the state primarily through their influence on political processes which is going to be central to our future prospects. The intelligentia which by its record breaking low turn-out in urban centers like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack has once again demonstrated how apathetic or frustrated it is with the current scenario. Even Gandhiji had observed almost a century back that the 'Intellectual Apathy' of the elite was the greatest danger to the nation in pre-independence India and the same holds good even today.
In this context, one feels that the need of the hour is to try and bring together all the disparate forums, coalitions, civil society organisations, thinking individuals, youth leaders together to discuss and debate and find a way forward. While many of us in different forums, groups, organisations are equally concerned about the current developments, no one seems to be prepared to bell the cat so to say. Even those who are willing do not seem to have the wherewithal to act. Only by creating a larger umbrella and united front can we have a say and save the future of the state and our children. Unless we act now, I feel future generations with not forgive us.
Many courageous individuals have tried to stem the tide by joining the electoral battle as independents. Er. Baidyanath Sing's campaign in Karanjia assembly seat is a good example. Although their efforts have been overshadowed by massive onslaught of money power of mainstream parties, they do hold out some hope for the future. Many of them have tried to make Development the central agenda rather than ideology, caste, religion or other diversionary issues.
In this context we feel that there is crying need for a convention to discuss the following and find a concrete action plan for the future:
1. What is the current political scenario in the state 2. What are the likely outcomes of the current election and its implication for the state's future 3. How an alternative political agenda can be created
4. How an alternative political leadership be groomed and developed
5. How can the development agenda take center-stage in the political arena
If you are concerned and agree with the above then come join us on the 14th May at Redcross Bhavan for a day long convention. Lets together herald a new future for our much maligned and much-negelected homeland.
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