The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Medha, the activist to campaigner

Bhopal, July 29: Medha Patkar is set to make the transition from activist to political campaigner. She will campaign for non-BJP, non-Congress parties like the Gondwana Gantantra Party, Kranti Dal and lesser-known outfits during November’s Assembly election in the state.

The Narmada Bachao Andolan activist is not too concerned about how successful her campaign will prove. She views her campaign in the context of her people’s movement — Desh bachao, desh banao — where electoral success or failure will not have much impact as long as some goals are pursued.

These goals are: the right of local communities to natural resources, the right to life and livelihood, the new paradigm of alternative development ensuring sustainability and justice and the struggle for social justice and fostering alternative politics.

Medha was here to discuss the plight of villagers living by the Narmada whose dwellings have submerged due to the rise in water levels and an increase in the Sardar Sarovar dam’s height.

The NBA activist said the Congress had failed to attract her because of its support to global capitalism, liberalisation and privatisation. She considers the BJP a pariah due to its proximity to the Sangh parivar, its Hindutva policy and its role in the Babri Masjid demolition.

Medha said she had not met Narendra Modi to discuss the Narmada project and relief and rehabilitation. “He symbolises a lot of ills in society,” she said.

Medha said Atal Bihari Vajpayee was no different since he was “Modi’s boss”. She wondered how a poet who had denounced the Hiroshima holocaust could have given the go-ahead to the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests.

Sporting a pink Chanderi sari, Medha spoke passionately about politics, saying it was too serious a business to be left to the unscrupulous. “There is a need for accountability and social audit. Our whole campaign is to awaken the masses and ensure participation,” she said.

Medha said she would support parties opposed to multinationals, communal forces, big dam projects and criminalisation of politics.

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