Lok Paritran was formed in November 2005 by a team of six graduates from IIT Bombay and IIT Kanpur. The party, which garnered widespread media attention, fielded candidates in the recent Chennai Corporation Elections. In an email interview Ajit Ashwalayan Shukla, Nation Treasurer, shared some his thoughts on critical issues put forth by Hafta Magazine.How are you going to build a sustainable grassroots organization, considering that it could mean involvement of less fortunate sections of the society, with each group having its own prejudices and interests? Or is your aim to build an urban organization to begin with?
This is a very popular misperception that the problems faced by the rural and urban interest groups are fundamentally different. In simple words problem is just a mismatch of demand and supply. And a short term solution to any problem is to somehow bridge this gap by mobilizing resources from where they are temporarily more than required. A long term solution involves putting in place appropriate policy frameworks that would stimulate growth of production capacity.
At a higher level of abstraction the nature of the problem faced by anyone is same, which is ill management of resources. Though the problem manifests itself in different forms. Taking this fact into account it is not difficult to build an all-encompassing organisation.
But to begin with we prefer urban areas for obvious reasons. Once we have a good hold on these areas, we can expand outwards.
How does Lok Paritran intend to express its stand on various, social, political and economic issues? Is it waiting to win an election before acting on issues? Or is it planning to raise current issues and work on them? Are they working on any such issues already?
The Party intends to take up any issue that concerns the people, whenever and wherever possible. But in order to build a sustainable movement that will yield results, we need organisation. The priority right now is to expand the organisational structure throughout the country.
The country clearly needs young leadership. Do we need a new young party or greater youth involvement within existing parties? Why not fall back on a legacy of experienced leadership. Is LP going to reinvent the wheel?
Nothing can compensate for the experience. But the vigour and creativity of the youth has also no match. The existing parties are not giving due weightage to the youth. A country, where more than 50% of the population is below the age of 35 years, is having Prime Ministers older than 70 years. The average age of the cabinet would be around 65 years.
The schism between the demographic realities and the political opportunities is to be bridged.
Coalitions are a reality. Does LP see itself aligning itself with any of the existing political cliques in the country? If so how will it maintain its unique stance and approach?
At present I don’t see any party with which we can align with.
Does LP have a clear manifesto for the country across various areas like Foreign Policy, Industry, Law, Education and Social Welfare? Do they have subject matter experts on these issues?
In this dynamic world nothing is stable. The intent is general welfare. The implementation of that intent in the form of policies depends upon time and space.
Though we have a clear stand on every issue concerning the country, but to take a clear and unchanging stand on policies regarding those issues is not required.
As a term that seems to have different meanings for different people, what is the meaning of the term “Hindutva” according to your party? If there is no such thing as “according to the party” then what is your personal view of the term?
In the case “Dr. Ramesh Yashwant Prabhoo Vs Shri Prabhakar Kashinath Kunte and Others” the Supreme Court said the term “Hindutva” is indicative more of a way
of life of the Indian people and is not confined merely to describe persons practicing the Hindu religion as a faith. I think this is the best possible definition for the word.
In May 2006 there was widespread news of a split in Lok Paritran. What led to this situation? If this can happen so soon in LP how different is it from existing parties? Being young and educated is clearly not enough.
It was not a split at all. Some disgruntled members left the party and some were expelled. That’s it. In politics these things do happen. Differences of opinions do exist. Even before independence there were numerous splits in the Congress. There were instances when people, who have difference of opinion with Gandhi Ji, parted their way and formed separate political parties.
How have mainstream political parties taken to LP? Have there been dialogues? Is LP seen as a serious, if fledgling, player?
No doubt they have taken a note of us. How serious? that only time will tell.
How is Lok Paritran financed? Considering that your party is projected as a modern-day party, do you intend to make your finances transparent? Would you be willing to put them on your website?
Contributions from the members and well-wishers.
Every political party is supposed to file returns. Moreover the candidates put up by the party are supposed to submit the details of their election campaign related expenditures to the returning officers before a stipulated time after the elections are over. Thus the functioning of every party is already quite transparent. But if it is required, we can even publish the expenditure details on our website.