Tuesday, October 16, 2012

United Front for Assembly

LOA Vol 36 - Issue - 02 - 15 Oct 2012
United Front for Assembly

By Staff Reporter

Every political party nurtures the aspiration to have a democratic setup in the Islands. But, sense never prevailed among the top parties to come together on a common platform and assert for it. Very recently, tired of the bureaucratic labyrinth and autocratic decisions of a Lieutenant Governor with Defence background and without administrative skills, an all-party delegation met the President of India and other national political leaders and submitted memorandum demanding a Legislative Assembly for the Islands. The all-party delegation has strongly demanded an urgent solution to change the present system of Administration as self-governance is their basic right.
More than six political parties including BJP, CPM, TMC, RJD, TDP, DMK and AIADMK have come together with only Congress party remaining out of the Front very prominently.
Addressing the media, KG Das, State Secretary, CPIM said that they have demanded Assembly for the Islands. When asked about exclusion of Congress Party from the front, he clarified that Assembly is part of Congress agenda, but are unwilling to join the front or agitation to achieve it. "I feel that Congress too will take a step towards it," he said.
When asked about the opposition of Local Born Association for an Assembly, KG Das said that no one can oppose Statehood on the basis of demographic equations. Citing an example from North-East, he said that the local populations in many states are very low, but it cannot stop them having a democratic and participatory self governance system. "This is a colonial mindset trying to strangle the aspirations of the Islanders," he said.
Commenting on the attitude of the Lieutenant Governor, he said that the Administrator's dictatorial approach without any consultation process or accessibility has effected the development of the Islands badly. "How can an Administrator allow Raj Niwas to be used as a Party office?" he asked.
"We have also demanded for immediate call back of the Administrator, who has exceeded his tenure by 3 years," Das added.
Manoranjan Bhakta, who made a comeback with joining the Front said that this is a new journey with all parties coming together.
Clarifying the agenda of the front, Bhakta said that this is a common platform for Assembly and not an electoral alliance to fight elections.
In the memorandum submitted to the President, it is alleged that for the last ten years, no major development has taken place in the Islands. The Lieutenant Governor, who is about to complete two-terms, is not working keeping the interest of the public. The dictatorial attitude towards general public, politicians, elected representatives and PRI members have jeopardized the entire economic development of these Islands, stated the memorandum.
The All-Party delegation also rued the abolishment of the 30-member Andaman and Nicobar Pradesh Parishad with five Councilors of the rank and status of Deputy State Minister, which was sanctioned by the Ministry of Home Affairs and inaugurated on 20th June 1981 by State Home Minister Yogendra Makhwana. In his message, greeting the people of these Islands, he had said, "The Inauguration of this State Counci marks the dawn of a new era in the history of this Union Territory. The active participation of the people in the affairs of the State is the backbone of democracy. The need for greater association of the local people in the Administration of this Territory has been felt ever since independence." He had also said that the Pradesh Council is a forerunner to this process to complete democratic decentralization. As a stepping stone, the Council provides opportunity to the elected representatives and the officials to gain experience in vital areas of development and policy making. From now on the elected representatives of the people are going to sit together and advice the Government in matters of administration."
The memorandum said that the Council was sanctioned to the Islanders as a triial to form a Legislative Assembly in the near future. However, this State Council had functioned only for ten years and consequent to the formation of the Zilla Parishad for the South Andaman District, ANI Admn abolished the 30-member Council without consulting the political parties. The unilateral decision of the Admn in winding up the Pradesh Council
Citing many anti-people notifications and regulations without any consultation, the all-party delegation has urgently demanded the need for a democratic setup for the Union Territory for speedy development on the same pattern of Pondicherry.
Prominent leaders of all parties including Marudavanan, DMK, P R Ganesh, RJD, and R Mohan, BJP too attended the Press Meet. They informed that the All-Party Front will organize a token dharna and awareness programmes throughout the Islands to garner support for the cause of Assembly.

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