The Telegraph
Sunday , April 13 , 2014
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Poor response to open forum

Ranchi, April 12: Our MP hopefuls don’t think twice before turning up on your doorstep to seek votes. But when it comes to facing the public and answering a few questions at an open forum, they simply don’t have time.

Prominent candidates of Ranchi Lok Sabha seat today gave an Q&A session with the electorate organised by Bharatiya Suraaj Manch, a civil society initiative for good governance, a miss, leaving many in the audience disappointed. The programme at Morabadi grounds sought to give voters a chance to weigh the capabilities of their aspiring MPs and whether they were suitable to be sent to Parliament.

“We tried to contact everyone. Although 15 candidates agreed to attend the programme, only a few turned up,” rued P.K. Siddharth, national convener of the Manch.

Congress’s Subodh Kant Sahay could not be contacted, while BJP candidate Ram Tahal Chaudhary said he was busy. “Amitabh Choudhary of JVM had promised to come, but he didn’t show up,” he added.

Those who cared to honour the invitation were Amanullah Aman of Aam Aadmi Party, Bahadur Oraon of CPI(ML), Suresh Toppo of Jharkhand Dishom Party and Independents Lal Jyotindra Deo, Yogeshwar Manarbeen, Vikash Chandra Sharma, Theoddous lakra and Kafiur Rahman. While the audience asked them questions, a jury headed by retired Jharkhand High Court judge Justice Vikramaditya Prasad evaluated their suitability.

Most questions were aimed at Aman. A voter asked why his party boss Arvind Kejriwal tied up with the Congress to form a government in Delhi and then resigned, while another wanted to know if enactment of Jan Lokpal Bill would eradicate corruption from the country. In reply, Aman stessed that AAP was against corruption and wanted to weed it out by pursuing the Jan Lokpal Bill. “My party’s aim is to not to come to power only, but also do real good for people,” he added.

A retired colonel, Deo spoke about corruption and price rise and advocated for “a society that doesn’t attach importance to caste or creed”.

Though the session was supposed to be of two hours, it stretched longer. “It would have been interesting if we could have heard the candidates of prominent parties,” said Janki Nath Pandey, a passer-by who dropped in for a while.

The Manch will give its verdict on Monday.

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