Bangalore: He is neither a political ideologue nor activist, but that doesn't stop writer U R Ananthamurthy from drawing out a model election manifesto.
“There is no political party which has something like an ideology. Sometimes they will just be populist and say they will give away television sets and rice, but in this process they are destroying the social fabric,” Ananthamurthy said.
That’s why the author has come up with a 11-point peoples' manifesto for the 2008 Karnataka Assembly elections. And his wishlist consists of a ban on iron ore mining, common schools for all children, city growth being conducive to the elderly and disabled, equal rights to the minority communities and agricultural land not being used for SEZs among other things.
He has also invited people to debate and expand the list and the responses have been many and varied.
“This is not my manifesto. I said here are some suggestions which can be made a peoples’ manisfesto,” Ananthamurthy said.
But is this just an intellectual exercise or an idealistic manifesto? Political parties do not think so.
“Before finalising the manifesto of our party I want to have an interaction with U R Ananthamurthy and I will discuss with him, I will take some positive points from him and I will try to convince our party leaders so that some of his views may be implemented in our manifesto,” JDS Spokesperson YSV Datta said.
Ananthamurthy had fought the 2006 Rajya Sabha elections on an independent Kannada platform and lost. He was one of the founders of the socialist movement in Karnataka, but has mostly kept out of active politics.
Amidst the electoral din comes a message from one of Karnataka's most respected writers. And for once political ideology, if any, should not come in the way of true welfare.