Politics has come of age in Himachal Pradesh, and so have its electorates. While campaigning for the forthcoming Vidhan Sabha elections has gone more mainstream with almost all top leaders of major parties contesting the polls throwing in their weight, voters in the state too have become more demanding. So on the one hand, political parties are yet to disclose their manifestos, some civil society organisations have taken an initiative to prepare their own manifestos, listing issues that need to be addressed by the state government. Three such manifestos have also been posted on HimVani by the respective organisations for drawing wider support to press for the demands.
The ‘Manifesto by Vulnerables-2007’, prepared after consulting members of Ekal Naree Shakti Sangathan (membership over 5,500 spread across seven districts, ward members of 200 Gram Panchayats, large number of social organisations and people who are concerned) looks into greater details on issues related to ‘newly-created’ vulnerable sections of population, decentralised governance and health care services. Their manifesto demands a state disability policy.
On the other hand, the Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (SDRS), in fact, has gone a step ahead, and organised a debate between political parties on issues relating to people with special needs.
Rashtriya Himachal Niti Abhiyaan Samiti has planned a more proactive approach by organising a foot march to demand action on certain environmental issues. Activists of the Society have been marching through various constituencies with their ‘Himachal Vikas Niti’ manifesto.
High voter turnout in the hill state has time and again proved that people in Himachal take active interest in choosing their political representatives. Now with social organizations also taking a more proactive approach, we can only hope for better governance.