By Elton Gomes
Master poll strategist Prashant Kishor does more than simply advising political parties on their campaigns. He also runs the Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC), an advocacy group that is paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi in a unique way. The I-PAC’s new platform, the National Agenda Forum (NAF), builds on Gandhi’s 18-point programme and wishes to form a similar agenda to address problems in India.
“Within 30 days of its launch, the NAF has garnered considerable traction with 28,901 youth volunteers from 4,219 colleges spread over 346 districts across India; 142 eminent personalities from six countries and 20 states; and 206 civil society organisations who had come together to strengthen the citizens of India for streamlining the four key action driven points across the nation,” a statement by I-PAC stated.
I-PAC aims to celebrate Gandhiji’s birth anniversary by resurrecting the conversation around one of his crucial pieces of work, the 18-point programme.
What does NAF aim to do?
Taking Gandhiji’s spirit forward with the help of its associates and volunteers, I-PAC attempts to bring together millions of citizens through the NAF. The NAF is a pan-India initiative to resurrect the conversation around Gandhi’s 18 point programme and use it to reimagine and co-create India’s priorities to formulate an actionable agenda for the present.
“NAF aims to strengthen political engagement, promote youth participation, and exchange of thoughts through a conversation with the bureaucracy through sustainable and better governance propositions for building a platform for citizens of the country to set the agenda for the upcoming general elections in 2019 augmenting the quality of citizen’s life through the Gandhian 18-point constructive programme for Poorna Swaraj,” as per the statement by I-PAC.
Who can be associated with NAF?
According to I-PAC’s statement, the NAF is “a campaign designed to equatorially connect all the aspects of an electoral process that play a conclusive role in the formation of an elected government. It seeks the active participation of all stakeholders i.e. citizens, local communities, civil society, corporate associations, welfare associations, college students etc. It ushers in a new era of electoral politics of having a well informed and enthusiastic voter leading to good governance through the election of committed and responsible leaders.”
How does NAF function?
The movement includes four main action steps for everyone who wishes to participate.
Share the vision: Spread awareness about Gandhi’s 18-point Constructive Programme
Set the Agenda: Select from a list of priorities or set your own agenda for contemporary India
Choose the Leader: Nominate the leader you feel is best suited to execute the agenda
Campaign for India: Help the chosen leader in coming to power in the upcoming General Elections 2019
Through these four steps, I-PAC aims to include those points that were covered in Gandhiji’s 18-point constructive programme. It also aims to include those items that are of critical national importance that require government action. Users are also enabled to add other points that could be of importance to them.
What happens after citizens cast their vote?
The I-PAC team, which is mentored by Kishor, has claimed that an actionable agenda will be set for contemporary India. This agenda will be escalated on behalf of the young voters, the I-PAC said in its statement. “NAF’s goal is to implement Gandhi’s constructive principles and once that is done, there is no other work left to be completed in NAF campaign,” Leo Reegan, a member of I-PAC’s media team, told Qrius. Reegan added that I-PAC would not be closed after the NAF has been completed, and it could come up with another campaign.
Associates from NAF have been making on-field visits and have managed to spread the word around several colleges throughout India. The NAF plans to conduct media collaborations and partnering activities in the future.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.
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