Chandigarh, 28 July (2021) A Punjab Thinkers’ Collective, Vichaar Manch has been formed to oppose the ongoing practice of mainstream political parties of rearing up and blowing high the image of leading politicians/families to win elections which results in suppressing the people’s real problems (issues) and help the political class in escaping accountability for its past misdeeds.
A gathering of thinkers at Kendri Singh Sabha campus here observed that Akali Dal (Badal) and Congress which have been ruling Punjab by turn for decades have already built up their huge “election machines” with updated advanced technological support to project the image of their leading politicians large-than-life to hypnotize the voters through propaganda spree. For building their ‘vote-bank these parties use techniques like polarizing, communalizing, and emotionalizing the people by inflicting fear and caste divisions on them. They virtually whip up some sort of hysteria to harvest a better crop of votes. Once voted to power, these politicians, invariably, behave like feudal lords of the past and amass huge money by patronizing criminal mafias and nexus of bureaucrats, police, and dealers. Why not such thuggery be stopped and why not such “elected representatives” be recalled for defrauding the voters?
Could the ongoing electoral exercise after five years be called a democracy? Is it not disempowering and depoliticizing of the citizens? Is the present election system known as “First-Past-the-Post” worthy of retaining in which a party with 31 percent vote share could win 62 percent seats in an assembly/ parliament? Why this oldest electoral system should not be replaced with a more representative system — a Proportional Representative (PR) system– which has already been adopted by near 100 countries of the world? Why parties are allowed to play up the emotive issue for vote-bank politics like the Akali rulers turning blind eye to the Baragri sacrilege the Congress delaying in penalizing the offenders that tragic episode for the same electoral purposes?
Why we should not think afresh on the eve of coming assembly elections? As the experience shows that Punjab went down the drain after each previous election exercise as those who voted to power invariably failed Punjabis. Punjab’s debt of Re 15000 crores in 2002-03 have now crossed Re 3 lakh crore, farmers are committing suicide and unemployment raising sky-high with environment getting degraded beyond redemption. Poverty has risen with the economic gap between the rich and poor widening further.
Private schools/ colleges and hospitals run and owned by politicians themselves have deteriorated the education and health systems rendering them beyond the reach of the common man and poor.
The political class consisting of Akalis-Congress combine has been subjecting Punjab to the ‘tyranny of power’ snubbing every dissenting voice as a ‘Khalistani conspiracy’ against the “Indian Nation”. With the police-people ratio being skewed in favor of security forces Punjab has virtually become a ‘police-state where people’s genuine struggles are being suppressed as a “law and order” problem.
Ironically, people of Punjab are made to pay taxes for security forces that whimsically indulge in violation of human and civil rights and accord protection to the unpopular rulers who invariably usurp power through foul means.
Against this the sordid background that stands exposed now by the ongoing farmers’ struggle at Delhi borders, the thinkers have decided to thrash out a “Punjab Agenda” comprising people’s issues, which could help the voters to confront party candidates in the coming elections.
Views of the experts would also be taken upon each issue to finalize the Agenda in the series of meetings the Manch has planned in the coming months.
The recent Manch’s meeting was participated by Dr. Pyara Lal Garg, Gyani Kewal Singh, Hamir Singh, Jaspal Singh Sidhu, Prof. Manjeet Singh, Dr. Megha Singh, Gurbachan Singh Jalandhar, Prof. Bawa Singh, Principal Sucha Singh, Prof. Kuldeep Singh, Narinder Singh Bhau, Surinder Singh Rira, Prof. Harjeshwar Singh, Deepak Chanarthal, Khushhal Singh and Malwinder Singh Mali.
Issued By Dr. Pyara Lal Garg
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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