Bengaluru, May 4: It was a "low-key" political affair (compared to all the media hype surrounding any event hosted by the major political parties), but an effective one raising some pertinent issues.
The Swaraj India party, which is making its election debut in poll-bound Karnataka by fielding 11 candidates, released its manifesto at the residence of freedom fighter HS Doreswamy in Bengaluru on Thursday.
The elections to the 224-member Assembly in Karnataka are scheduled on May 12. The results will be declared on May 15. Around 50 people attended the manifesto release function of the Swaraj India party founded last year by psephologist and academic Yogendra Yadav and Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan.
While Doreswamy and others from the Swaraj India party released the Kannada version of the manifesto, Yadav is soon going to unveil the English manifesto of the party.
Freedom fighter and anti-corruption crusader Doreswamy, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, called the Swaraj India party's publication a "people's manifesto".
Criticising the "vulgar amount" of money being spent by political parties for the upcoming Karnataka elections, Doreswamy said, "Politicians are going to any extent to get power and money. Money is ruling the roost in politics. For the money, people are being killed. Gauri (journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh) was murdered."
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for giving tickets to scam-tainted mining barons of Bellary, infamously known as Reddy brothers, the well-respected centenarian said, "For the money, all the country's natural resources are being looted."
"This manifesto is not something which the party promises to implement after coming to power. It provides an alternative way of thinking--as people and citizens what we can do to make India a better place for our children," he added. "Even after 70 years of Independence, poor remain poor and rich are becoming richer, this should stop," he insisted.
Speaking at the event, eminent writer Devanoora Mahadeva said, "To enable humankind to make their lives more tolerable, the Swaraj India party manifesto makes an attempt to search for possibilities that encompass an organic and holistic perspective. This is open to dialogue. It is a manifesto for the people. As citizens, youth and common people, we need to take responsibility to preserve our environment. The manifesto talks about protecting natural resources like water and river."
"The Swaraj India party will work in accordance with the concepts in the manifesto. It will regard every vote that is polled by the party as an endorsement of its manifesto. The candidates who win from the Swaraj India party will work towards creating policies, legislations and programmes in favour of these ideas in the state Assembly. Above all, it is for the people to claim the manifesto as their own and work towards fulfilling the promises. Anyone is free to use it (manifesto), there is no copyright," he added.
HV Vasu of Karnataka Janashakti narrated a couple of salient features of the Swaraj India party manifesto. Vasu said, "Like Doreswamy pointed out, it is not what the party intends to do after coming to power. Usually, people look for what they would get from a manifesto. But the Swaraj India party's approach is completely different. People who read the manifesto should take the responsibility to fulfill the promises."