DATE: 5 December 2012


As soon as election dates are announced, political leaders overwhelm voters with promises and sloganeering. Political parties and their candidates will once again be in the Gujarat assembly even though they have little to do with ideology, thanks to the votes of common people and the unaccounted money of the rich and powerful.
Time has now come to raise question about issues that concern the day-to-day life of citizens to those candidates who are indulging in expensive campaigning on various medium with little concrete to offer.

These, elections we no longer should remain passive, we question, we seek answers.
Political parties and candidates owe Gujarat now honest replies.


• Make public all that the leaders, MLAs, parties, ruling and others, did to fulfil the promises they made in and outside the assembly. In case they have not been fulfilled, explain the reasons publicly.
• When did you last use the public transport service, especially the government bus?
• Do your kith and kin go to private or government hospital and why?
• Where do your children, kith and kin study, in government or private schools/ colleges, give details?
• What role did you and your political party played during any act of state repression, public violence related to caste or communal strife in last ten years? What did you do for the victims, especially the poor and affected?
• What steps did you/your political party take to ensure peace and the violence does not take place again?
• Will you ensure land allotment to the dalits and landless farm labourers under the provisions of land ceiling act?
• Explain your position on the yet to be formulated ‘land use policy’ in the state.
• Can you guarantee that the development policy will not be based on privatization, liberalization and globalised capital markets, and make the policy details public?
• What do the candidates have to say about the ‘right to recall’ provision if they were not to fulfil their electoral promises?


It is a shame that even after 65 years of Independence we need to reaffirm the political commitment on these issues, nevertheless,

(1) What changes/revisions will you ensure in state government policies and laws to ensure employment for all and living wages for sustenance livelihood?
(2) What market intervention measures will you adopt to ensure the easy and affordable availability for all in basic goods like grains, milk, cooking oil, cooking fuel etc?
(3) How will you ensure the supply of potable drinking water and water for domestic usage for all?
(4) What will you do to make public the water balance sheet which will detail the availability of water in the state and its usage?
(5) What will you do to ensure that Narmada waters will reach the small and marginal farmers of Saurashtra and Kutch as originally planned, without commodifying it?
(6) What changes will you ensure in budget to prevent privatisation and commercialisation of education and health?
(7) What will you do to ensure availability of free and good quality of education and health?
(8) What changes will you ensure in budget to ensure housing facilities for all?
(9) What rules will be framed to ensure control on increasing number of private vehicles, the ensuing vehicular pollution and to ensure an effective public transport system?
(10) What measures will be adopted to ensure security for all sections of societies and not just political leaders?
(11) What steps will be taken to ensure timely action against offenders be it of any political party, actor, officer, minster, chief minister, judge or a rich person?
(12) What steps will be taken to curb the all pervasive corruption?
(13) What will you do to ensure the rights of the displaced for Narmada and other irrigation projects, who continue to suffer, while those who set up industries and staying in the cities have started benefitting, instead of the farmers?
(14) Most petitions of the Tribals and forest dwellers under the forest rights act have been rejected so far. What will you do to ensure that the tribals get what is their due?
(15) What information do you have about the industrial pollution and the occupational diseases afflicting the workers and their families? What steps do you recommend to curb the industrial pollution and occupational diseases?
(16) While number of industries are on increase in Gujarat accompanied by domestic and international investment it has not resulted into corresponding increase in employment opportunities, especially secure atmosphere of employment. With increase in educated unemployed youths what measures do you recommend to ensure them jobs commensurate with their skills and educational standards?
(17) What steps will you take to ensure living wages, safety net like social security, health, maternity benefits to the unorganized sector labour, as 97.59% of the women workforce and 91.59% of the male workforce are working in unorganized sector in Gujarat? In addition, what measures will be taken to ensure functional environment for the roadside vendors and larriwallahs.
(18) 44.6% of the children in Gujarat are suffering from malnutrition, 41% of the children weigh less and 55% of the women suffer from anaemia. What will you to do ensure universalisation of the public distribution system? How will you ensure transparent and accountable system that delivers affordable access to good quality of food items to all?
(19) What steps will you take to ensure proper prices for the farmers and at the same time encourage adequate production of food crops in the state?
(20) What steps will you take to encourage organic farming even as use of chemical fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides is on rise in farming?
(21) What steps will be taken to ensure easy access to all public places, like roads, transport system, schools, colleges, hospitals for the physically challenged?
(22) How will you initiate concrete measures that will ensure the accessibility and availability of the above mentioned for the youth, women and the poorest of the poor, the Dalits, Tribals, slum dwellers, child labourers, unorganized sector labourer, the minorities, the physically challenged.


• Policies, amendments, intervention programmes to be undertaken to stem the increasing violence against women and also the skewed sex ratio in state.
• How to ensure effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005?
• Measures to ensure equitable share in property and land for women.
• Since ensuring a healthy environment for raising a child is not only the responsibility of a mother but the entire society, what facilities will be provided to working mother at all levels, be it in form of crèches and aanganwadis at place of work, market places etc?
• Measures to stem sexual violence and discrimination against women at work and public places.

[A letter with 38 demands for ‘Women’s Rights to live in a Society, which is Free from Violence’ was sent to all the political parties on 26-11-2012 by Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan).]


While there is a beeline to get the tickets from political parties, it bears a question why it is perceived to be such a lucrative proposition now. Ideally, people’s representatives are there to serve the citizens in democratic set up, take up their issues and concerns. But that is hardly the case and most tend to behave as ‘Feudal Lords’. There exists no mechanism to make the people’s representatives publicly accountable or to be able to keep a check on their functioning.

Every workplace is governed by a set of regulations, similar ones should exist for people’s representatives as well.

It calls for questioning the facilities provided to elected public representatives, especially as they are funded by the tax payers’ contribution. In the present system everyone, even the poorest of poor is contributing to these expenses in direct/indirect ways, in the taxes they pay on basic items like even salt.

The time has come to frame rules governing not only the working of these public representatives but also to initiate disciplinary action if they were to violate them.

(1) The salary, facilities and perks provided as per the ‘The Gujarat Legislative Assembly Members Salaries and Allowances Act, 1960 be henceforth discontinued. Instead, double the amount of minimum wages as fixed in the state should be paid to them.
(2) The elected representatives should also be covered under the ‘The Provident Fund Act, 1952 and ‘The Employees State Insurance Act, 1948’ and alike the workers, their contribution should be deducted from their salaries.
(3) The elected representatives will be given a pair of uniform made from ‘Khadi’ or ‘Handloom ‘material which they should wear during while they are on duty.
(4) Alike other workers, they too can avail sick leave, casual leave and related leave facilities.
(5) The elected representatives will be barred from taking any type of gift as a representative and action will be taken for the violation.
(6) A ‘Committee Against Sexual Harassment’ will be appointed specially for the elected representatives as per the Supreme Court Judgment in Vishakha v/s State of Rajasthan. A special committee to look in to the complaints about Domestic Violence by them, against women in their family will be constituted.
(7) To assist the elected representatives with their public works, they can choose five persons from their constituency. And they too will be paid at par with elected representative.
(8) The government will provide for an office to the elected representative in their constituencies, which will be simple, but with adequate facilities. The office will remain open on all working days except on government holidays where the five salaried workers will be accessible to the public.
(9) During the session as well as afterwards, it will be compulsory for the representative to remain present in the office during the fixed hours in office.
(10) Every elected representative will be given a BSNL mobile phone on which the citizens can connect for free. As long as the phone is used for public work and not personal, the bills will be reimbursed accordingly.
(11) Every three months, the representative has to organize a public meeting in which they will make public all the works they have undertaken and also answer all the queries of the citizens of the area. They will also detail the plans for the forthcoming three months and the minutes of the public meeting will be documented. This documentation will be a public record, which will be shared with the people and in a press conference to be held after every such public meeting.
(12) The public representative will use only public transport for official work during the tenure and if they use private transport then they will not be paid any travelling allowance for that trip.
(13) Instead of individual accommodations, elected representatives, MLA or MP will get a dormitory facility in groups of ten.
(14) All the ministers can avail two bedroom flats during their tenure.
(15) Due to such communal living, it will reduce the burden of security cost and make it easier for security arrangements.
(16) During the session, the elected representatives will be provided free of cost simple but nutritious breakfast and meals providing 2400 calories per day in a common dining hall.
(17) They can avail free of cost meals as well accommodation in government guest houses while they travel for fulfilling their duties.
(18) For all those representatives who remain absent from their office in their constituencies, without prior intimation, their salary should not be paid. In case if their absence is prolonged, all the facilities due to them in addition to their salary for that year should be withdrawn.
(19) If the elected representative were to remain absent for a period stipulated more than the rules permit in the House without furnishing proper reasons, then not only the salary but perks and all the facilities for the entire year will be withdrawn.
(20) If they resort to violence and mayhem while taking up issues in assembly /parliament then their salaries should not be paid for that session. In case they persist with mayhem and sloganeering in house, they should be suspended for that session. And if they still persist they should be dismissed.
(21) If an elected representative instead of raising her/his issues as per the rule in the house, resorts to sloganeering or unruly behaviour in the House for more then 3 times she/he will be first suspended. If the unruly behaviour persists, will be thereafter dismissed and will loose the right to contest the subsequent elections.
(22) If the elected representatives are found to be sleeping, engaged in conversation or leaving the House, be it the Rajyasabha, Loksabha or Vidhansabha frequently, then they will be suspended for three days. During the period of suspension, they will have to pay for their meals as well as accommodation facilities. Additionally, they will have to submit a written apology to the House as well to the voters.
(23) They cannot take mobile, laptops and similar communication devices in the House.
(24) During every session the elected representative have to make written submission about the issues of their constituency as well as how they intend to solve them. The note shall be prepared following public hearing and discussion in their area and also should be made public, with a copy available in their constituency office’s notice board.
(25) The Speaker of the house should prepare the agenda for the session after referring to the notes of the representatives and ensure the detailed discussion in the House about all these issues. The duration of the session will be fixed according to the merits of the issues to be discussed.
(26) The present system of grants to MLAs/MPs for carrying out various public works in their area should be scrapped. Instead they should make a written submission of works that need to be financed and accordingly grants should be directly allotted by the government.
(27) Before introducing the motion in Vidhansabha, Loksabha or Rajyasabha for implementation of a scheme, the representative should hold a public hearing where the citizens can submit their opinions, omissions and amendments to the schemes. The motion will be prepared on the basis of the public hearing’s report and the funds will be allotted keeping in view the development needs of the constituency.
(28) During the session at the end of each day, a press conference should be called where media should be briefed as well as given the details in writing about the proceedings of the day. Also, the agenda details for the next day should be also shared with the media.
(29) Arrangements should be made so that citizens can watch the proceedings during the session. Also, subsidized rail and bus service arrangements should be made for those citizens who want to watch the proceedings, along with meals availability at minimal cost.
(30) Elected representatives have to make a written submission of what they accomplished/works undertaken during the interim period between the sessions. This information should be made public just outside their office given to them in their constituency and failure to do so would lead to nonpayment of the salary for that period.
(31) While contesting elections, if the candidates forget to declare the details of their assets and property, which they have to also place outside their office. Failing to do so, government can confiscate their assets, which shall be used for public works.
(32) Details of their income/assets should be furnished publicly each year. Also, they should be audited by an auditor to be appointed by the House.
(33) They have to maintain a daily diary and at the end of the every month, a copy of it should be submitted to a special all party committee formed by the House. All these details should be put on the House’s website as well as the constituency office.
(34) Those who violate rules three times consecutively will be debarred from contesting the immediate elections.
(35) Those seeking re-election should submit the details of the works accomplished in their previous tenure as well. Also, if their assets/income witnesses a phenomenal rise, it should be explained in writing. The Election Commission can reject their candidature if they fail to do so.
(36) A special court should be constituted to deal with cases related to violations committed by representatives, which shall deal with the cases at the earliest, preferably in the period of six months.
(37) They can avail LTC (leave travel concession) facility to undertake a seven day trip to an area other then their constituency to meet and study the condition of the deprived sections as well as common citizen. During this travel period, the state government will make home stay arrangement at the residences of common citizens. They have to submit a report in writing about their visit and the report should be made public.
(38) In addition to local issues, talks and training sessions with experts on the basic issues pertaining to the common people and different sectors will be organised. Participation in these sessions will be compulsory.
(39) Every six months an oral and written examination concerning people’s issues and their solutions will be taken. The results will be made public.

Let us have serious discussion on the above issues during election and even after election.

Sahiyar (Stree Sangathan) Trupti Shah Deepali Ghelani Kamal Thakar

Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti Rohit Prajapati Swati Desai Amrish Brahmbhatt

Jyoti Karmachari Mandal Kantibhai Mistry Sudhir Biniwale