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Goals of Swaraj: Shri Ramesh Bhutani

PEOPLE’S RULE – CREATING SWARAJ

60 years ago India’s founding forefathers had a dream for all of us – a dream of an equal and just society where every man, woman and child has the right and privilege to lead a fulfilling and nurturing life, free from all kinds of oppression. This was a dream and a hope over 60 years ago. The Constituion of India and specifically the Preamble to the Constitution of India, defines a clear roadmap for the future of our country wherein the common man and woman hold the power to decide their destiny.

Today nobody can say that India has achieved this dream. Before independence the common man was a slave to foreign powers; today he has become a slave of the political system of our country. There is a new master in our country today – the political Neta. This Neta, who asks for our votes during elections, and then forgets us after he wins, this political entity decides the common man’s destiny.

But every civilisation reaches a plimsoll line of tolerance. This is our line. India’s common man has had enough of oppression, inequality, injustice and unkept promises. For the last 2 years the anti corruption movement has galvanised the country from end to end into one common voice – a voice that is demanding a complete rehaul in the way political parties and their leaders function.

This national demand for a change in the way our political system works has forced our anti corruption drive to enter the political arena to clean it from the inside. Politics itself is not a dirty word – it is our current breed of politicians who have made it dirty. Our Party wants to make politics a noble calling once again.

The biggest problem facing our democracy today is that no one in government can or wants to hear the common man’s basic needs. This is the situation in the whole of our country. People need basic amenities and the government provides something else. Decisions affecting millions of common Indians are taken by a few select leaders of the ruling party in Parliament. Democracy has become a slave of the leader of the ruling-party.

We believe that good governance happens when people have the power to influence decisions that shape their life. This is a major change that India needs badly. No present day party will usher in this systemic change. For this very reason, ouranti corruption movement has been forced to enter politics.

The Aam Aadmi party, the common man’s party, wants to overhaul the 3 pillars of our democracy and make them accountable for their actions to the people of India. The following is the roadmap we aim to follow:-

1. The Executive

Today all big and small decisions that affect the nation are taken by a few select members of this body of governance. Once the ruling party comes to power, a few top leaders at the head of the party and a handful of influential corporate honchos decide all policies. Where is the voice of the common man in this decision making process? There is no Right to Recall in our country today. So once we elect a leader, we are stuck with him for 5 years. And this gives the current breed of politicians enough time to loot the resources of the country.

Is this the true meaning of Democracy? Of course not. In a true democracy The people have the power. Governments should be responsible to the people, not the other way around. This is the goal of Aam Aadmi Party – to give the power back in the hands of the people of India. This is SWARAJ or self rule – but can it be done practically?

The answer is YES!
SWARAJ can be created in a fully democratic system and many countries in the world have done it. India can also create a system which makes the government directly responsible to the people. Aam Aadmi Party aims to decentralise the system of governance in such a way that people can influence the policies that affect their local area. All the provisions to create SWARAJ are defined in the Constitution of India. All it takes is the political will to implement the spirit of the Constitution on the ground level. No political party in India today will do this. It is this corrupt and selfish current political system, that forms the Executive pillar of our democracy, that we aim to change.

2. The Legislature
The common men and women of India elect the MLAs and MPs and send them to Parliament. These chosen few then betray the trust of the common man and make unfair and corrupt policies and take unilateral decisions that affect the lives of millions of Indians. In the current system once we elect our representatives, the common people have no recourse to have a say in the law making and policy formulation process. And in this India is one of the 5 unfortunate countries in the world which do not have constitutional provisions to allow people’s participation in policy making.

All the other democracies in the world have 2 such provisions – REFERENDUM and INITIATIVE. In these countries if a pre determined majority of the population consider a law unfit for the people, they can reject it and send it back to their elected representatives. This is called Referendum. Similarly, if a pre determined majority of the population considers a law necessary for their nation, through a clearly defined procedure the people can send the law to their chosen representatives and this right is termed Initiative. These are just two examples of how democracy can be made truly participatory and representative, if the political system supports it. Our party is committed to giving these two rights of REFERENDUM and INITIATIVE to the people of India.

3. The Judiciary
Today if a common man wants a lawyer to represent him in either the Supreme Court or a High Court, he needs lakhs of rupees to afford legal representation. Justice in India today is so expensive that it is out of reach for a common man. The only way a poor person can appeal to the highest judicial courts is if some lawyer agrees to fight the case at nominal cost. This means that you can have justice in India today as a charity, but not as a right.

This is not the justice for all that is envisioned in the Preamble to the Constituiton of India. Access to the highest level of justice is a fundamental right of every Indian and should be made easily available to the common man. Our party plans to implement long overdue judicial reforms in order to create a judicial system easily accessible and affordable for all Indians.

RIGHT TO REJECT
When we go to cast our vote, we know that almost all the candidates are either corrupt or criminals. But our current voting system forces us to choose any one candidate and waste our vote on someone we know is unfit for the job. We the people’s party plan to give the voter an alternate choice – a Reject All button. All voting machines shall have a “reject all” button at the bottom. If you dislike all candidates, you will have an option to use this button. If this button gets majority of votes, the elections to that constituency will be cancelled and fresh elections will be held within a month. The parties and candidates rejected in the cancelled elections will forfeit their right to contest again in the re-elections.

RIGHT TO RECALL
Today we give our vote to a candidate, he or she wins the election, and then they disappear from our life. Today most elected representatives make no time to listen to the problems of their constituents. And in the current electoral system, the people have no choice but to suffer this candidate for 5 years. We want to create an alternative. We will enact a Right to Reject law wherein the common man does not have to wait for 5 years to remove a corrupt MLA or MP from office. People can complain to the election commission anytime to recall their representative and call for fresh elections.

We want to create a system where the political leaders we elect and place in the Parliament are directly responsible to the voters who elected them. Our party’s vision is to realise e dream of SWARAJ that Gandhiji had envisaged for a free india – where the power of governance and rights of democracy will be in the hands of the people of India

Internal Lokpal

Procedure for Receiving and Disposing Complaints

As per constitution, National Lokpal consists of a maximum of 3 members. It is required to enquire into complaints of violation of Code of conduct by any of the National Executive members.

Presently, National Lokpal is a 2 member body. The two members are –Admiral Ramdas

Ex. Navy Chief Admiral Ramdas has agreed to become National Lokpal for the Aam Aadmi Party.

Dr. Ilina Sen

She is an internationally known feminist scholar, human-rights activist, and an author. Dr. Sen has worked for more than three decades among some of India’s most impoverished and socially stigmatized populations and manages the NGO Rupantar. Presented as part of the Town Hall Civics series with AID India and Asha. She is also a professor at Tata Institute of Social Studies and has agreed to become National Lokpal for the Aam Aadmi Party.

The Lokpal had its first meeting on 28 Nov at 7 pm and adopted the following procedure for receiving and disposing complaints –

Any complainant could make a complaint pertaining to violation of Code of Conduct as defined in the constitution of the Party (Article VI A), to the Secretary of the Party in writing along with an affidavit and all the evidence either through email or send the complaint at A 119, Kaushambi, Ghaziabad -201010, UP.

Lokpal would not entertain a complaint directly from the Secretariat of the Party. There ought to be a complainant.
After receipt of such a complaint, the Secretary may video record the statement of complainant depending on the seriousness of the complaint.
Such complaints will be examined in the office of the Secretariat and will be forwarded to the Lokpal along with its observations/comments.
Secretary, in consultation with all Lokpal members and as per their convenience, would call a meeting of Lokpal.
Lokpal would decide if there is prima facie case or not. After deciding they will proceed accordingly either to enquire or reject the complaint. For reaching out any conclusion Lokpal will adopt appropriate methods suitable to the complaint and the circumstances.
If they find that no prima facie case is made out, Lokpal could dismiss the complaint. However, reasons for doing so would be recorded.
After completion of enquiries, lokpal will pass an order, which shall be binding on the Party.

How we are different: Shri Ramesh Bhutani

  1. There is no central high command in Aam Aadmi party. The party structure follows a bottom to top approach where the council members elect the Executive Body and also holds the power to recall it.
  2. No MLA or MP of this party will use red lights or any other beacons on his or her vehicles.
  3. No MLA or MP of this party will use any special security. We believe that elected people’s representatives need the same security as a common man.
  4. No MLA or MP of our party will live in opulent and luxurious government housing.
  5. No one would need to buy an election ticket in our party. Candidates contesting elections from an area will be selected by the people of that area.
  6. In all political parties today criminals and mafia goons are given election tickets. Such people will never be given tickets in our party. A thorough screening process will ensure that no one with a criminal record or proven corruption charges could stand for elections from our party.
  7. This party will function with full financial transparency. Every single rupee collected by donations to run this people’s party will be publicly declared on the party’s website and all expenditures will also be declared on the website.
  8. Every member of the Aam Aadmi party will have to follow a strict internal code of conduct or internal Lokpal. This independent body will be headed by 3 jurists and other eminent personalities with impeccable public records and will investigate charges of corruption, crime, substance abuse and moral turpitude against all office bearing members of the party. Any citizen can present proof of wrongdoing against a party member. If internal Lokpal finds the party member guilty, he or she will be subjected to appropriate disciplinary action as decided by the internal Lokpal.
  9. No two members of the same family will be eligible to contest elections in our party and no two members of the same family can become members of the Executive Body.
  10. Today we give our vote to a candidate, he or she wins the election, and then they disappear from our life. Today most elected representatives make no time to listen to the problems of their constituents. And in the current electoral system, the people have no choice but to suffer this candidate for 5 years. We want to create an alternative. We will enact a Right to Reject law wherein the common man does not have to wait for 5 years to remove a corrupt MLA or MP from office. People can complain to the election commission anytime to recall their representative and call for fresh elections.
  11. Aam Aadmi Party is fully committed to the principles of gender equity and will represent women and students amply at all levels of party organisation.
  12. Aam Aadmi Party is committed to the principles of justice for all and will coopt representatives from the Dalit and other minority segments of society at all levels of party organisation.

Shri Ramesh Bhutani’s Vision

60 years ago India’s founding forefathers had a dream for all of us – a dream of an equal and just society where every man, woman and child has the right and privilege to lead a fulfilling and nurturing life, free from all kinds of oppression. This was a dream and a hope over 60 years ago. The Constituion of India and specifically the Preamble to the Constitution of India, defines a clear roadmap for the future of our country wherein the common man and woman hold the power to decide their destiny.

Today nobody can say that India has achieved this dream. Before independence the common man was a slave to foreign powers; today he has become a slave of the political system of our country. There is a new master in our country today – the political Neta. This Neta, who asks for our votes during elections, and then forgets us after he wins, this political entity decides the common man’s destiny.

But every civilisation reaches a plimsoll line of tolerance. This is our line. India’s common man has had enough of oppression, inequality, injustice and unkept promises. For the last 2 years the anti corruption movement has galvanised the country from end to end into one common voice – a voice that is demanding a complete rehaul in the way political parties and their leaders function.

This national demand for a change in the way our political system works has forced our anti corruption drive to enter the political arena to clean it from the inside. Politics itself is not a dirty word – it is our current breed of politicians who have made it dirty. Aam Aadmi Party wants to make politics a noble calling once again.

We want to create a system where the political leaders we elect and place in the Parliament are directly responsible to the voters who elected them. Our party’s vision is to realise e dream of SWARAJ that Gandhiji had envisaged for a free india – where the power of governance and rights of democracy will be in the hands of the people of India.