Jan Nigrani Abhiyan Yatra reaches Bhim in central Rajasthan;

24 November, 2018. Bhim, Rajsamand, Rajasthan

The mood around the Bhim tehsil office today was full of fervor and excitement and why not, one of the biggest festivals of democracy, i.e., elections is round the corner and over 4.75 crore voters of Rajasthan are gearing up to elect their representatives to the state legislative assembly on the upcoming 7th December.

Near the Bhim tehsil office, over two hundred people had gathered for a Jan Manch and vociferously raised issues that they wanted resolved — delayed and insufficient wages in NREGA; inadequate amount of social security pensions; problems and wrongful exclusion due to the use of PoS (Point of Sale) machines in the Public Distribution System; inadequate infrastructure in public schools and hospitals and abysmal quality of essential public services in these institutions. The occasion was a Jan Manch programme organised by the Rajasthan Election Watch where the candidates contesting the elections were in conversation with the citizens.

The gathering clearly and unambiguously made it plain that the candidates ignoring their ‘real’ issues will do so at their own peril.

The Rajasthan Election Watch (a collective of over hundred civil society organisations of Rajasthan) has been touring various constituencies across the state not only asking people to exercise their voting rights with responsibility and caution but also to play their role in ensuring that the elections in the state are free, fair and transparent. Citizens are also being exhorted to monitor that the candidates and parties follow the moral electoral code of conduct in letter and in spirit.

Candidates and/or representatives from the Indian National Congress, Janta Dal (United), Aam Aadmi Party, and several independent candidates were present in the Jan Manch. Neither the serving MLA from Bharatiya Janta Party Hari Singh Rawat nor his any representative attended despite several invitations. The Bahujan Samaj Party was also absent from the dialogue.

The group of Rajasthan Election Watch is spreading its message through short skits, street plays, songs and is also running a helpline where citizens can lodge complaints of money, liquor, or other goodies/freebies being distributed by any parties/candidates, cases of hate speech, paid or fake news, use of violence, or any other violations of the moral electoral code of conduct.

The group is forming and leaving behind committees in various constituencies to watch the elections and the candidates and also to press the demand for a comprehensive social accountability regime. The Jan Manch programme today was significant as the location of the programme was in the same area that has been the cradle of the movement for the Right to Information and has played an important role in the movements for Right to Work, food, social security pensions etc. It is also worth noting that all the party representatives and candidates (except the absentee BJP) categorically stated that they’ll oppose any dilution of the RTI law. The people also asked the parties to announce their manifestos so that they can evaluate their respective vision, proposed policies and plans and also hold them to account once they come to power. Also, candidates were asked to release their individual manifestos for their constituencies apart from the party manifestos.

The tribulations of the people owing to the PoS machines, low wages and lack of employment, inadequate health and education services, corruption, ban on sale of liquor, etc. were some prominent issues raised at the Jan Manch.

The Jan Manch programme at Bhim (Rajsamand) which was organised under a state-wide Jan Nigrani Abhiyan follows similar events in Udaipur and Dungarpur districts of Rajasthan and over the next few days this Abhiyan will cover several other districts of Rajasthan.

Issued by Rajasthan Election Watch

For more information, contact – Mukesh – 9468862200, Kamal – 9413457292