The expectation of the people from the Congress government is very high. In the words of Devanura Mahadeva. “Enough of words, now works must speak”, ” 2024 will be won with deeds, not just with words”. “We must be inspired next to call for Eddelu India”. We hope that his words come true.
At the vibrant function in Bengaluru on Friday, May 26, an Open Letter to the newly elected government was given. Senior activists were present including those who had worked hard to make the Eddelu Karnataka movement a reality, built alliances, and worked on the ground.
The contents of the May 26 is below:
People’s expectations and steps that Congress must take to fulfil them
The Congress party has to take three main steps to respond to public expectations:
1. Fulfil its promises: The five guarantees given by the Congress – increased rations, 200 units of free electricity, Rs 2000 per month for women of the household, free travel for women and Rs 3000 per month for the unemployed – must be implemented without fail.
Whether right or wrong, you must honour the word you have given to the people. We believe these are only emergency measures to alleviate suffering, not permanent solutions. The real solution to the problems of the society today is to raise people’s incomes, ensure employment, reduce costs and create an environment of mutual cooperation and fraternity. Although the government should work in that direction in the long run, today it should first fulfil its promises.
2. Mend the damage done by the BJP’s misrule:
The BJP’s rule has brought two kinds of damage:
- Anti-people laws to further corporate interests and hate politics have been ushered, such as the Land Reforms Amendment Act, APMC Act, Cattle Act, National Education Policy, Anti-conversion Act, Electricity Privatization Act, casteism in the revision of textbooks, cancellation of reservation for minorities, betrayal under the guise of reservation etc. Cases were filed against those who fought against these evil policies, taking away the possibility of protest.
- Shocking increase in prices, 40% corruption and rampant politicization have made the life of the common man unbearable.
The second main task before the Congress government is to repeal all these anti-people measures and acts and formulate pro-people acts. The socio-economic situation of each community should be transparently put forth through a caste census, and a comprehensive solution evolved by taking the public into confidence. All cases filed against activists by the previous government should be withdrawn and the people’s right to protest restored. Plans should be made to curb corruption and price rise, and re-establish a spirit of peace and fraternity.
3. Government should be responsive to people’s demands: Those who govern should first listen to people’s demands, before deciding the government’s course of action. The government should reach out and listen to various groups who have put forward different demands and struggled for them, and collectively work out a solution. People’s demands are reasonable – for farmers, a fair price for their crops and rights over bagair hokum lands; housing for the homeless, strengthening of MGNREGA and its expansion to cities, an increase in minimum wages, equal pay for equal work, job security, social justice, fair reservations with internal reservation, extortion-free education, accessible healthcare, nutritious food, old pension scheme, security for the destitute, protection and proper status for women, abolition of evil practices and freedom from debt. In short, what people are asking for is a dignified, peaceful life. How can a government not respond to this? It is easy to come up with a long list of what the government should do. We are not doing it, instead, we have a simple request. First, get each department to reach out and start a dialogue with the people and those who are fighting for the people. Consult the social organizations, take comprehensive decisions and begin work at once. Create a democratic system where the government is subject to public scrutiny so that all can see whether you are working as you have promised.
If the government responds to the people, the people will respond to the government. You will see even better results in 2024. Otherwise, power is never permanent. There is no other alternative to avoid the danger of the same evil forces seizing power again. Hence the Congress must pay attention to the above three aspects.
We will continue our duty as the voice of civil society, and work as a real and constructive opposition party. We will cooperate with the government’s good work, and at the same time oppose its negligence. We trust you will honour and respect this relationship.
We end with one last word from concerned citizens – “Let the government act as it speaks, and let its actions be its words”.
On behalf of all the common people of Karnataka, “Eddelu Karnataka”….
Rest of the Letter
May 6, 2023
An open letter
To the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, and all Ministers and MLAs of the Congress Party:
At long last, Karnataka has heaved a big sigh of relief. The people of the state have rejected the government which has given them unprecedented bad governance. They have given your party a clear majority. We offer our best wishes to you and all your party workers for this victory. We all hope your government will serve its full five years with stability and unity. On this occasion, we would like to bring some issues to your attention.
First of all, we hope you will agree that this victory is not only the victory of the Congress party but also the victory of the masses. The anger within the people of the state has expressed itself as contempt for the BJP. It was not only the people who were determined to defeat this misrule – many pro-people organizations, grassroots organizations, literary thinkers and media friends worked tirelessly to mobilize the people’s minds towards it. Organizations of Dalits, minorities, backward communities, farmers, agricultural workers, labour, women, sexual minorities and transgender communities, and many democratic organizations worked relentlessly. Special recognition is due to individuals and organizations from the Lingayath, Vaishya and Brahmin communities who worked to defeat the BJP. Amongst these various efforts, of special note is ‘Eddelu Karnataka’, which emerged as a collective action of many organizations and eminent people. It can be said with confidence that ‘Eddelu Karnataka’ has created a new type of program and worked hard to influence the vote. It has taken on the duty both of shaping the public opinion and organizing the secular voters.
Our social media teams strived to convey the issues of price hike, corruption and hate politics that have devastated the people’s lives. With more than 1000 posters in different languages, 80 videos and 8 effective song albums, they have touched people’s hearts. Apart from committed print media,s a new generation of digital media houses emerging as an alternative 1 to Godi Media has exposed BJP’s mismanagement on a large scale and foiled their plots through more than 500 stories. The effective countering of the BJP’s Urigowda – Nanje Gowda campaign is an example of this.
Eddelu Karnataka was also active on the ground, selecting 103 constituencies where BJP is strong and forming over 150 teams to take the message of “Why BJP must be defeated” to the doorsteps of the people. More than 10 lakh copies of literature were printed for this effective campaign across the state. People have memorized the three basic principles of defeating the BJP – “Voting should be increased”, “Votes should not be divided”, and “Vote only for those who can defeat the BJP”. These three formulas, especially the third one, had a great effect on the results. On the basis of this stand, efforts to defeat the BJP have been made in essence by rallying support to Congress in most constituencies, but also JDS and other candidates in a few even as the need to struggle with them eventually was also stressed.
In sum, Eddelu Karnataka has not limited itself to ideological campaigning, but has effectively reached out to the grassroots and influenced voting behavior to a good extent. The pent-up anger of the people, the hope created by the Congress party guarantees and the active role played by social forces including Eddelu Karnataka all came together to ensure victory.
This campaign has brought immense experience to civil society. It has built the confidence that people can be organized on an even larger scale by 2024. In this context, what needs to be clarified is that ‘Eddelu Karnataka’ was an independent civil society campaign. Those in it do not belong to any party and have not received any financial assistance from any party. The driving force behind the entire campaign is the urge to remove the anti-constitutional, dictatorial, socially harmful BJP from power.
Together, we have pushed back the misrule of this BJP government. But the real challenge starts here. People are fed up with BJP and have chosen Congress with great hope and expectations, despite some doubt whether the Congress would fulfil its promises. Congress now should decide whether it will meet the expectations of the people, or disappoint them. This time we said clearly, “Defeat the BJP which has brought misrule”. For us to approach the people with the same spirit in 2024, the Congress has to meet the expectations of the people. In the words of Devanura Mahadeva. “Enough of words, now works must speak”, ” 2024 will be won with deeds, not just with words”. “We must be inspired next to call for Eddelu India”. We hope that his words come true.