Saturday, January 18, 2014

Medha Patkar-led NAPM decides to "ally" with AAP, says members are free to join the party

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), apex body of several to civil rights groups across India, has decided in favour of “allying” with the Aam Admi Party (AAP). The decision came at a high-level dialogue between NAPM leaders, led by Narmada Bachao Andolan’s Medha Patkar, with several AAP leader-intellectuals, including Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan and Ajit Jha. In a statement issued at the end of the deliberations held in Delhi on January 16-17, NAPM said, its individual organizations and members will be free to “intervene into electoral arena” through AAP.
In a clear indication that Patkar will join AAP, the statement reads, “Senior activists with strong mass base and experience of constructive work to social action will seek extensive consultation with their movement comrades and wider populace in their area before filing applications for candidature in forthcoming Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections through AAP and will contest if selected through democratic process”
Called at its national office in Delhi to discuss the “need and repercussion” of direct intervention into electoral politics as well the issue of support to AAP, the meeting, the statement said, was in continuation of the NAPM western region discussions on January 12 in Mumbai, where it was decided to tentatively agree to discuss on whether to join AAP. Among issues discussed were the issue of 'active support' to AAP and mechanism for contesting elections on AAP ticket.
The statement said, the NAPM members “felt that today many of the existing political parties have agreement on a common agenda on the anti-people reforms, criminal and corporate loot of natural resources, use of money and muscle power in elections, complete negligence of the people's issues and absence of political propriety and tolerance for divergent views and diversity in life.”
Pointing out that “people's power is denounced by most of the political parties and politicians in violation of the constitutional rights and privileges”, it said, “This has resulted in a situation where the space for democratic movements and dissent have been decreasing, state repression has increased leading to victimisation of activists and non-violent democratic movements. Fundamentalism and communalism have been on the rise leading to rising fear among minorities and secular sections.”
Suggesting that this has necessitated the need to engage in “alternative movement politics”, the statement said, “AAP has enthused people and shown a ray of hope to many by raising people's issues reflecting values of equity and justice and has attempted developing a new vocabulary of change and politics on the agenda of governance and anti-corruption.”
"The NAPM team raised and sought clarification on AAP's position on certain issues related to adivasis, dalits, displaced, urban poor, farmers, women and their livelihood issues. After the meeting it was resolved that:
* Most of the people's movements allied with NAPM welcome AAP as a process towards an alternative politics. They will extend support to those AAP candidates that concede 8 with the local people's issues and support people's organisations.
* Every people's organisation allied with NAPM has its own individual identity and hence decisions regarding its relationship with electoral processes and intervention will be their own. Organisations like Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) of Assam, which don't intend to intervene into electoral politics, will continue with their movement.
* Those movements groups who are in support of AAP will actively take part in membership drive of AAP, be part of committees at different levels, and contribute to the process of manifesto making.
At the same time, NAPM reiterated that the NAPM “will continue to retain its independent identity and struggle against injustice, inequity and discrimination and work for peace, justice and freedom as always.”
Among those who were engaged in a dialogue with AAP included Medha Patkar (Narmada Bachao Andolan), Arundhati Dhuru and CM Yadav (NAPM-UP), Ashish Ranjan (Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan, Bihar), Prafulla Samantara (Lok Shakti Abhiyan), Dr. Sunilam (Kisan Sangharsh Samiti, MP), Akhil Gogoi (KMSS, Assam), Dayamani Barla (Adivasi Mulvasi Astitva Raksha Manch, Jharkhand), Sumit Wajale (Ghar bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, Mumbai), Prasad Bagwe (Ekvira Jamin Bachao Andolan, Maharashtra), Kailash Meena (NAPM Rajsthan), others.



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