Wada Na Todo Abhiyan initiated a nationwide process to make People’s Manifesto with consultation from the people at grass root to reflect their aspirations and demands at national level.
Wider Civil Society organizations formed a ‘National Platform on People’s Manifesto’ and came up with a People’s Manifesto through wider consultations with general public at large by holding direct meetings, signature campaigns, and social media interactions. The manifesto reflects the demands and aspirations of the marginalized and the poor sections living across the country.
Through direct and indirect involvement, the manifesto by the CSOs took inputs from about 16 lakh people in 250 parliamentary constituencies in 24 states. (See details in annexure- 1) In the process, several civil society organisations, people’s networks, women’s organisations, trade unions, student groups, dalit and tribal groups, youth groups, organizations working on children and many other networks representing various marginalized sections contributed to this massive mobilization and participatory discussion. The partners of wider network are: Alliance for Right to Early Childhood Development, Campaign against declining child sex ratio, Child Rights Coalition, CASA, CRY, Indian Social Institute, National Adivasi Solidarity Council, NCDHR, Nine is Mine, OXFAM India, PACS, RTE Forum, Save the Children, Youth- unManifesto, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan, World Vision.
National Consultation on people’s manifesto:
Consultation was held by WNTA and the wider CSO network on March 27, at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. Participated by more than 170 people from across the country, the event marked wide presence of CSOs, media and politicians. Dr Sanjay Paswan, , National President, BJP Schedule Caste Morcha, Nilotpal Basu, Polit bureau member, CPI (M), Dinesh Vasnik, member, National committee, CPI were present. National Convener of WNTA Paul Divakar and a group of people from grass root released the people’s manifesto and handed over to the political representatives.
A comparative presentation was made on the people’s manifesto vis-a-vis the manifestos of Congress, CPI (M), DMK and Trinamool Congress. By that time all these manifestos were out. Some of our demands on education, health, tribals, governance, tribals, Dalits, children and youth were accepted. The catch in the national consultation was presentation of the voices of victimized people from grass root, e.g. case of farmer suicide, people affected by displacement, transgender, sex worker, tribal and Dalit voices were placed before the politicians.
To keep people informed and engaged in People’s Manifesto process, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan brought out a varied range of communication materials detailing the core vision behind the process. WNTA developed multi colour posters and informative fliers and shared them with all the Members of Parliament (MPs) and Planning Commission members, key leaders of political parties in state and centre, and all union ministers. Posters were used by state partners to spread awareness in villages and towns about the process.
WNTA also made over a dozen newsletters and release them on a regular basis to provide detailed information about the process undertaken in different states. These newsletters were sent to more than 5000 contacts across the country on a regular interval.
Documentary film: A 15-minute audio visual documentary was made on people’s manifesto process that highlighted the problems of displaced farmers, transgender, Muslim community, Tribals, Dalits, women, sex workers, and many other section of society. The documentary was shot at different locations (Delhi, Odisha, West Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh) to cover maximum voices. The documentary was telecast during national consultation on People’s Manifesto in presence of leaders of political parties. The documentary is also available on the YouTube channel of WNTA.
Online Advocacy: WNTA regularly updated the information about the process and works undertaken in different parts of the country on social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. We had also created a YouTube channel to showcase the documentary on People’s Manifesto and the important videos footages of people’s manifesto process. The internet giant Google partnered with WNTA to spread the message on people’s manifesto. Their team helped us in promoting videos online and also provided us other technical assistance required in popularising the online content on People’s Manifesto.
Media Coverage: People’s Manifesto process and its outcome were significantly covered in media at national and state level. Media reports were carried in Times of India, The Hindu, The Economic Times, Business Standard, Navbharat Times, The Statesman, Indo Asian News Service, Down to Earth, Governance Now, Amar Ujala, Aaj Samaj, Carvanalive (Delhi Press), etc at national level. These media houses not only covered the release of people’s manifesto but also did a special feature on it focusing on the demands raised by different sections of people. At state level, the people’s manifesto process was covered in many regional media houses as well as in regional edition of national dailies. Dainik Jagran, Hindustan, Aaj, Rashtriya Sahara, Punjab Kesari, Sambad, Samaj, Hindustan Times, Assam Tribune, Matrubhumi, Hueyenlanpao and many other dailies and magazines. Many news websites also covered the people’s manifesto process.
Web links of news items:
http://t.co/U6yRnufsTo (Times of India)
http://www.caravanalive.com/article.php?aid=4254 (Alive, Delhi Press) Magazine
http://t.co/KIkIzvUBoH (Business Standard)
http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/people-s-manifesto (Down to Earth)
Advocacy with political parties:
WNTA partners in 24 states invited the representatives of the political parties to people’s manifesto meetings. The constituency level demands were put forward by people in meeting with the representatives of political parties with the request to send them to their party manifesto committees. Similarly at the state level the WNTA partners met and handed over the state level manifestos to the leaders of key political parties. A delegation of WNTA partners along with women social activists met the Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in UP and handed over the People’s Manifesto. The CM assured to look at the demand raised in the manifesto.
At the national level, many civil society organisations formed a platform on people’s manifesto and met the top leaders and key leaders of various parties. The delegation representing the national platform on People’s Manifesto met A K Antony (Union Defence Minister and Chairperson of the Congress Manifesto committee). In a 45-minute interaction Antony listened patiently the demands of people and assured to include some key demands in Congress manifesto.
Similarly, the delegation also met Communist Party leaders A B Bardhan (General Secretary), D Raja, (National Secretary) and S Sudhakar Reddy (Deputy General Secretary). The delegation also handed over the people’s manifesto to Brinda Karat (CPM), Prasant Bhusan of Aam Admi Party, Rajendra Pratap Guipta (Member of Core Committee, BJP manifesto committee).
Comparative Analysis of the Political parties’ Manifesto vis-à-vis People’s Manifesto.
A comparative analysis of the People’s Manifesto vis-à-vis Political parties manifesto was drawn for future advocacy and review of governments performance. The comparative was finalized with the inputs from the larger network of the Civil society organizations and networks who were involved in the manifesto preparation process. These comparative will be shared with the different political parties and the new government.
Annexure: 1 – List of Constituencies and State
Annexure: 2 – People’s Manifesto by the wider CSO network
Annexure: 3 – People’s Manifesto by the WNTA
Annexure: 4 – Comparative analysis of People’s Manifesto vis-a vis political parties’ manifesto