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Change can be achieved only through active citizenship: Shailesh Gandhi

Tuesday, 15 April 2014 - 10:46am IST | Agency: PTI
  • Shailesh-Gandhi

Individual citizens should recognise that they have fundamental duties as long-term sustainable change can only be achieved through 'active citizenship', a former Central Information Commissioner has said.

"It is extremely important that individual citizens recognise that they have fundamental duties under Article 50-A of the constitution just as they have fundamental rights," Shailesh Gandhi told PTI.

Gandhi was speaking here yesterday, after the launch of a book titled 'The Futility of Aam Aadmi Party versus The Promise of Active Citizenship' authored by environmental activist Rishi Agarwal. The former Commissioner said the book underlines a very powerful concept and defines the need for common citizens to become active in engaging themselves with the government and political representatives. However, he disagreed with the views of the author on the futility of AAP and said the party represents hopes for idealism to survive in politics. "It is too early to judge the party and we will have to wait for 5-10 years before we can pass judgements. In any case, most political parties and institutions in India have so far not delivered on their promises," Gandhi said.

When asked if AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal was right in quitting the Delhi government in 49 days, he said, "Do we judge any party by a single mistake? Will we judge the BJP based only on Godhra riots or the Congress only on the 1984 riots? We need to take a holistic view and wait for a few years before we can judge it." 

Earlier, Agarwal, while releasing his book, spoke to reporters on the bad state of governance and politics in the country, which according to him is a result of systemic neglect by people to engage with governance of the country. Exploring his views on the current elections and the noise over clean politics through his book, the author questioned the amount of resources being expanded by those who believe in clean politics and their commitment to the outcome as compared to the process. "If we wish to see a better governed India, then at least one percent of population in each city/village/region will have to display active citizenship," he said while expressing his disappointment at not finding adequate interest from the 'aam aadmi' in joining hands for resolving day-to-day issues that concern citizens.

"The aam aadmi can be intellectually lazy and morally a coward in matters of governance and nation building," he said, adding that a long term sustainable change can only be achieved through 'active citizenship.'


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