Legacy Diaries

Purely a Manufacturing Defect

Dear Representative, Come out with a Decentralized Manifesto.

  Election 2014 is gearing up and in next 48 hours the first phase of election is set to start in few constituencies of Assam and Tripura. Most of the parties had come out with their manifesto and still few are yet to release. As usual every party claims to work and give their best, just differing in their priorities according to their ideologies. Social empowerment, weeding out/checking corruption, bringing back black money slashed in foreign soil, infrastructure development, stable economic and foreign policy, primary sector priority etc., are few of the promises in front of the judges (the people) in this 16th Lok Sabha election. Of course these promises have to made in common to all the citizens of the nation, but what about local issues? How could a centralized manifesto address specific issues of a constituency? Decentralization or devolution of powers to the local also stands in the centralized manifesto of most party, but they ignore to give power in the very beginning to the candidate and seldom release any area specific manifesto. Of course I agree they address and promise to solve the local issues through words of mouth during the election campaigning, but what is its validity? After all this too is addressed by the party chief or star speaker and not the contestant on his own. Let me figure out few specific issues in my constituency which according to my knowledge is not addressed by any party nor the representative.

 On 24th of April, I am about to cast my vote to the 4th election of any kind and the second Lok Sabha election after I became eligible to vote. I belong to the Kanchipuram constituency (reserved) of Tamil Nadu, in which Viswanathan.P of the Congress party has won by a margin of 13000 votes in 2009. When I look at the performance of my representative keeping aside his party orientation and ideology, his performance in the parliament is satisfactory. He has an average attendance of 87% which is above the national average of 76% and state average of 69%; he participated in 38 debates which are also higher than the national and state average; he had totally raised 658 questions which are far higher than the national and state average which stands at 300 and 398 respectively. The only area where is short of national and state average is in the private member bill, which is understood as belong to the ruling party. Looking at the debates and questions raised him; it is quite visible that he really represented us in the parliament to his best. He also doesn’t have any allegation of corruption against him, so over all if not the best, his performance can be rated above average. Does it guarantee his win in the upcoming election? I don’t organise opinion poll nor throw away my instincts without any statistical evidence, but all I can realize is that mood of the nation and the state in particular is not in favour of the party which he represents.

To my knowledge few specific problems in my constituency is not addressed by any party / representative in particular neither during the previous reign nor in the present manifesto. According to census 2011, there is an increase in the decadal growth of population which is quite a paradox for a state which is considered to be one of the best in controlling population. The main reason for the increase in percentage is due to migration of family and people especially casual workers to this zone both from outside the state and inside the state. No party or representative has addressed to provide solution to their (labours who migrated from outside the state) problems, particularly elementary education to their children which is a fundamental right under article 21A. Government schools in Tamil Nadu have Tamil as their medium of education; it is difficult to bring these children’s to the school as they seldom understand the language. They have problem in availing the facilities provided to BPL families which also need to be addressed. Wages are not paid to labourers according to payment of wages act and in most cases casual labourers are ill paid, this is worst in case of migrant workers.

There are still many area specific issues which the contestant (it doesn’t matter which party he belongs to) should have addressed by requesting opinion/demands from the residents of the constituency by coming out with a constituency manifesto from the representative apart from the party manifesto issued in the party headquarters. The representative should come out and canvass not just replicating what his party has promised to do in the centre, but also speak about the area specific issue mentioned in his constituency manifesto. Let us believe at least in the future we will be able to see not just the centralized manifesto from the party, but also the decentralized manifesto from the representatives.