A reference to Right to Recall is very much there in Satyarth Prakash written by Shri Dayanand Saraswatiji in 1870. Satyarth Prakash chap-6, shloka-7 says “Raajaa must be Prajaadheen or else he will rob citizens”. RTR is a procedural technique to make the Raajaa Prajaadheen i.e. dependent on people. And the shloka has been taken from Atharvaved written thousands of years ago. So RTR must had been a popular concept in the ancient times.
In modern Indian politics, till 1925, there was no explicit mention of “Right to Recall” procedure, as far as I could find.
The first explicit reference to RTR in modern Indian politics, as far as I have found, was made by Mahatma Sachendra Nath Sanyal. Mahatma Sachendra Nath Sanyal was the founder of Hindustan Republican Association, and was also Guru of Mahatma Bhagat Singh. Mahatma Sanyal wrote in manifesto of HRA in 1-jan-1925 "In this Republic (that we wish to create) the electors shall have the right to recall their representatives, if so desired, otherwise the democracy shall become a mockery." (see : shahidbhagatsingh.org/index.asp?link=revolutionary ). This is, as far as I could find, the first explicit mention of “Right to Recall” in the modern Indian politics. After that, M N Roy insisted that Right to Recall is must in his book “the Draft Constitution of India” in 1946, but due to age and ill health he could not go far. Later Jaiprakash Narayan started a (true or psuedo) campaign for Right to Recall from 1950 onwards till he passed away in 1978. His demand for Right to Recall became a leading demand in activists from 1970-78. The Janata Party manifesto in 1977 also had promise for Right to Recall. Many of his juniors – such as Nitish Kumar, Laloo Yadav, Mulayam Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Sushil Modi, Ram Vilas Paswan etc. claimed in 1970s that they were die hard supporters of Right to Recall. However, Jaiprakash Narayan never ever proposed Right to Recall draft for positions of MP, MLA etc. and never made any attempt to bring Right to Recall draft inside Parliament. Due to this reason, I do suspect motives of Jayprakash Narayan. Many of his men became CM in States. Jaiprakash never asked them to pass RTR laws at State levels.
Apart from JPN, an attempt to spread information on Right to Recall was made by the legendary revolutionary Mahatma Batukeskawar Dutt in 1950s. Mahatma Batukeshwar Dutt was sentenced 10 years in Kala Pani for throwing bomb in National Assembly along with Mahatma Bhagat Singh in 1929. Mahatma Batukeshwar Dutt was follower of Mahatma Sachendra Nath Sanyal , who had proposed Right to Recall in 1925. After independence, Mahatma Batukeshwar had started spreading information on Right to Recall, because, he like his Guru Mahatma Sanyal, also perhaps believed in RTR. But he could not gather much momentum. Most likely, because the activists who liked RTR must have joined Jaiprakash Narayan, and Dutt was not able to create a group.
Now an interesting question comes against Jaiprakash Narayan. The fact that he always opposed the proposal to put an RTR draft in Assembly and Parliament proves that he was psuedo-recallists and his aim was to ensure that RTR never comes. Then why did he took the RTR cause to begin with? He could have just ignore the RTR cause. But the attempts made Mahatma Batukeshwar Dutt explains what prompted Jaiprakash Narayan to become a psuedo-recallist. If the elitemen do not sponsor a psuedo-recallist leader, then those who had liked RTR would have started working with Mahatma Batukeshwar Dutt and this would have strengthened the true RTR movement. IOW, the true RTR movement led by Batukeshwar Dutt created an opportunity for psuedo-recallists to obtain space in the media, and Jaiprakash Narayan grabbed that opportunity. This is the only plausible explanation I can think of to explain why Jaiprakash Narayan started a pseudo-recallist movement.
In any case, after his death in 1978, most of his students stopped talking about Right to Recall and RTR movement vanished without trace.
I started RTR-movement in oct-1998, and I call it as Neo-Recallist movement. The main feature has been : anyone who claims he supports RTR must first give the draft he proposes. This was necessary and sufficient to make it difficult for psuedo-recallists to hijack and destroy the movement. The draft and the “draft is must” feature is what took the movement ahead and protected it.
I first published several RTR procedure drafts in oct-1998 in http://democracy.mkolar.org/Mehta.html , http://rahulmehta.com/usa.bootstrapping.pdf and in http://rahulmehta.com/Bootstrapping.Vol1.pdf . Later, in mar-2000, I published them on http://eCharcha.com and also on http://bharat-rakshak.com under my names MehtaRahulC and “Rahul Mehta”. On both these forum, I became most hated member because on both forum majority of postors hated RTR (and still hate RTR). The procedures I had proposed in 1998 insisted on Legislation rather than Gazette Notification and the procedures low per citizen costs, but had high threshold costs and so did not appeal to too many non-80G-activists. But many liked it and spent their time, and gave me feedback. As I got more and more feedbacks, I modified drafts and newer procedures had lesser threshold costs. So the support from non-80G-activists increased.
In aug-2004, I published the current versions of TCP-draft, RTR-drafts, MRCM-draft and other drafts. These drafts use Gazette Notifications and not legislation, and also threshold costs are as low as Rs 20. The drafts started gaining more and more acceptance in more and more non-80G-activists. But process remained slow because I was not willing to spend money in giving newspaper advertisements and I wrongly considered election contesting as useless, and so did not contest elections.
Finally, in dec-2008, I gave first newspaper advertisement in Gujarat Samachar, Ahmedabad (pls see scanned copy of the advt at http://rahulmehta.com/ad1.jpg , and for clear copy see http://rahulmehta.com/ad01.pdf ). This generated some more interest and convinced non-80G-activists that I am serious. Later, I gave one more advertisement in Gujarat Samachar in Jan-2009 (pls see scanned copy of the advt at http://rahulmehta.com/ad2.jpg , and for clear copy see http://rahulmehta.com/ad02.pdf ) and then Indian Express in Jan-2009 (pls see scanned copy of the advt at http://rahulmehta.com/ad3.jpg , and for clear copy see http://rahulmehta.com/ad03.pdf )
These advertisements generated more interest in non-80G-activists, and several of them downloaded and read the RTR drafts. It did not generate much interest in mediamen. Despite lack of media support, the number of recallists gradually started to increase due to individual level spread.
In apr-2009, I contested Loksabha-2009 election in Gandhinagar Constituency. The main candidate in that seat was Lal Krishna Advani himself. I was not contesting against him, I was only contesting to publicize Right to Recall law-drafts. LKA was sure to win, as Ahmedabad/Gandhinagar area is very much anti-Congress as most voters fear that if Congress wins, then Congress will create 5 Dawoods. Besides, the air in may-2009 was that BJP was sure to get majority seats and LKA was to be PM. In that election, my campaign was limited --- only five newspaper advertisements, 20000 pamphlets and a few meetings. I got one favorable article from Ahmedabad Mirror. I got about 7300 votes and was 4th rank. The outcome was significant because on the day I had filled election form, hardly 300 people knew me !! The rest voted only because they liked the legal-administrative proposals mentioned in my advertisement. And my claim is – over 70000 voters intensely liked these proposals --- of which 63000 did not vote as they thought that voting me only benefits Congress (or benefits BJP). But as I mentioned in chap-13, the purpose of contesting election was not to win elections or even get votes – but so that more and more people read the advertisements and pamphlets. So all in all, my contesting election on Right to Recall PM, RTR-judges and MRCM planks not only gave information about RTR to citizens in Ahmedabad, but via internet, 1000s of non-80G-activists over internet. Many non-80G-activists started printing and distributing leaflets on their own and also started sending emails, using Facebook etc. to promote Right to Recall.
A major boost to Right to Recall came from Rajiv Dixitji of Bharat Swabhiman Trust. Dixitji had been supporting RTR since 1996. In Jan-2009, Swami Ramdevji formed Bharat Swabhiman Trust, and Dixitji became an apex figure in BST. He asked 1000s of volunteers to promote RTR in citizens. More and more volunteers took interest in Right to Recall. On nov-28-2010, he made a public speech in Mahouli Tahsil in Chhatisgadh supporting Right to Recall. Sadly, on nov-30-2010, he was murdered. This was a big loss to the Right to Recall movement.
So from apr-2009 to feb-2011, the movement made significant progress. The information that RTR-PM costs less than Rs 250 crore, does not create instability and reduces not just corruption but also MNC-domination must have reached to over 5000 non-80G-activists, of which perhaps about 200 were spending 3-4 hours a week in spreading this information further.
A big event happened on 08-feb-2011 – The Anna and The Team claimed that they support RTR !! Since then, the Anna and The Team tried to create immense damage to Right to Recall, and were successful along one dimension but ended up help RTR-movement along other dimension. In section-13.6, I have shown that the Anna is a psuedo-recallist. Then what forced the Anna to give lip service to RTR?
Let me give some background of The Anna and his relation with RTR-movement. In Aug-2010, I came in contact via internet forums with Mumbai based activists, who were drafting law called as Lokpal to reduce corruption. I looked at their draft, and saw that these people were being fooled by Ford Foundation and assorted foreign NGOs who wanted to impose oligarchy in India so that they have fewer people to bribe with. I tried to convince them that MNC-domination, weakening of Indian Military, Poverty and Bangladeshi Infiltration were bigger problems than so called retail corruption in low level Govt offices. But they were not interested in anything except Lokpal. So I tried convincing that Lokpal will increase MNC-domination if Lokpals chose to become MNC-agents. This argument appealed them and they asked for remedies. So I drafted Right to Recall clauses (see http://rahulmehta.com/lokpal2.pdf ) and showed them. They liked the Right to Recall Lokpal clauses , and added it to their Lokpal draft !!
In nov-2010, I heard from them that Anna and several other noted activists were going to start agitation for the Lokpal drafts. I was pleasantly surprised. Pleasant – because that would mean information about inexpensive RTR procedure will now reach crores of citizens, and surprised because I could not believe that so many elite activists would ever agree to campaign for a draft which has these RTR clauses, because mediamen would never sponsor RTR. The pleasantness as well as surprise vanished in Dec-2010, when I saw their Lokpal draft (which was then renamed as Janlokpal draft), I found that RTR-Lokpal pages were gone. I asked the junior activists and they said that Anna and Team did not like RTR-Lokpal clauses, so the removed RTR-Lokpal clauses and are no longer approachable
So starting Dec-2010, we Recallists started campaigning for “proposal to add RTR-Janlokpal clauses in Janlokpal draft”. We knew that The Anna and The Team were publicity-maniac and also propped by MNC-owners’ fronts such as Ford Foundation etc. and so they would never support RTR-Janlokpal clauses. So why did we ask for RTR-Janlokpal clauses? Because if they accept, it is good for India and if they don’t, then at least we can convince the non-80G-activists that The Anna is anti-RTR and request them to guess the motives. So we campaigned for RTR-Lokpal clauses
Between dec-2010 and feb-2010, scores of non-80G-activists called me and said that they had presented RTR-Lokpal clauses to The Anna and The Team. They said that The Anna supports RTR but refuses to add RTR-Lokpal clauses in Lokpal draft !! Nevertheless, more and more non-80G-activists kept asking The Anna to add RTR-Lokpal clauses in Janlokpal draft.
So finally, The Anna must have seen that he if doesn’t give lip service to RTR, he will stand exposed before non-80G-activists. This forced the Anna to give lip service to RTR. So on 08-feb-2011, The Anna started paying lip service to RTR, but as I had expected, showed all tendencies of a psuedo-recallist. Nevertheless, the fact that The Anna had to mutter “Right to Recall” words from his own mouth took these words to billion citizens overnight. So along one dimension, the Anna unwillingly ended up benefiting RTR movement. But immediately, LKA, Chief Election Commissioner, Salman Khurshid, Pranav Mukherjee, Subramanian Swamy etc. opposed RTR and falsely said that “RTR is expensive, RTR is impractical, RTR will create instability etc. etc.”, The Anna refused to issue a rebuttal in media or even on their websites. The reason why Anna refused to issue rebuttal was that The Anna wanted to create a public perception that RTR is indeed a bad idea. Let me give an analogy --- (i)say a lawyer has sold out and so that lawyer remains silent and deliberately doesn’t give counter arguments (ii)he will do this only to weaken his case.
But this enabled us true-Recallists to take our inexpensive efficient procedural drafts and convince many non-80G-activists that our RTR drafts are efficient, inexpensive, reduces MNC-domination along with corruption (unlike Janlokpal which decreases corruption but increases MNC-domination) . So number of Recallists started increasing. So all in all, The Anna’s attempt to hijack and destroy Right to Recall ended up with following benefits and losses to my neo-Recallist movement between feb-2011 and dec-2011 :
1. More people came to hear the words “Right to Recall” from say few lakhs to several 10s of crores.
2. Number of people who believed that RTR is useful increased from some 1000 to 5000
3. Number of people who believed that RTR is useless also increased, from say few lakhs to several crores because The Anna deliberately did not refute false claims of LKA, CEC Kureshi, Subramanian Swamy etc.
4. The % ratio of those who believed that RTR is useful to RTR is useless decreased !!
So (1), (2) and (4) were losses, (2) was benefit.
Many would like to believe that The Anna was and is sincere about RTR. Well, if he was sincere about RTR, then why did he oppose the propose to add RTR Lokpal clauses in his Lokpal draft? And why does he still insist on signature based procedure which increase the cost of RTR by 20-100 times? And why doesn’t he refute the claims of LKA, CEC and Subramanian Swamy when they made false statements against RTR? Please see 10 characteristics of psuedo-recallist in section-13.6. You will notice that The Anna not only exhibits all 10 characterizes, he gets 100 out 100 points in each test.
Now why does the Anna oppose Right to Recall in reality (though he claims he supports it)? The reason is same as why the Anna support Janlokpal and opposed Right to Recall Janlokpal? Basically, the Anna is a fame-maniac or a publicity-maniac. In his whole life, he could not get any fame outside one district. He saw that if he supports Janlokpal and opposes Right to Recall Janlokpal, the MNCs will pay 100s of crores of rupees to TV-channels to get him fame, and MNCs will also get him man of year award in Time Magazine. If he supports RTR, he knows that MNCs will pull plug and all the fame he got will disappear.
Now an Anna-bhagat may ask : if the Anna is anti-RTR, then what was the need for him to say on 08-feb-2011 and again on 28-aug-2011, that he was committed to RTR? Talking about RTR gets no sponsorship. Well, that was all because of pressure of non-80G-activists around him. The Anna could have asked all prop-RTR non-80G-activists to take a hike, but then they would have independently started campaigning for RTR (i.e. same as joining my RRP) which would have eroded his value in the eyes of MNC-owners. The biggest value MNC-owners saw in the Anna was that he was able to waste away time of non-80G-activists. If the Anna fails to keep non-80G-activists with him, and fails to waste away their time, then MNC-owners will see no value in him.
So finally, question comes down to :- what influenced non-80G-activists of the Anna to ask the Anna to support RTR? It was the RTR-Drafts. The drafts of RTR District Education Office or RTR PM or RTR Lokpal convinced the non-80G-activists that the RTR procedures in the draft are inexpensive, immune to voter buy out and do NOT cause instability.
Now to kill RTR, the Anna and his Team have started propping Right to Reject. The goal is to ask non-80G-activists to oppose Right to Recall and instead on focus on Right to Reject to waste away their time. We Recallists are trying to convince the non-80G-activists that not even 5% voters will click “none of the above” as the voters, even though 90% voters hate all major parties. Because though most voters hate both parties, they don’t hate all parties equally. The question of lesser evil always comes. Eg say Gujarat --- those who hate Congress more than BJP will always vote for BJP and those who hate BJP more than Congress will always vote for Congress. Or say UP --- those who hate Mayawati , Mulayam or Congress more than BJP will vote for BJP ; those who hate BJP etc. more than Congress will vote for Congress and so forth. Every voter who is tempted to vote for “none of the above” will think once “what is least bad guy loses by just 1 vote?”, and so he will end up voting for least bad guy. We Recallists are self funded my the Anna with is time-wasting Right to Reject agenda is funded by MNC-owners who will pay Rs 100 crore to mediamen every week. We failed to add Right to Recall Lokpal clauses in Lokpal drafts. Lets see, how far we can go this time.
The Neo-Recallist movement is now moving only via non-80G-activists and driving force is their desire to reduce injustice and improve India, and they see the Drafts as a necessary tool for this. There is no MNC-backing, no corporate backing, no charismatic personality propped up by paid media
1. I wrote the RTR-drafts in oct-1998 and the re-wrote them several times to reduce costs and improve speed of the proposed RTR-procedures. In addition, I wrote this books, and several pamphlets.
2. I also gave 17 newspaper advertisements (see http://rahulmehta.com/allads2.htm ) to publicize the drafts. In addition, I have printed over 100,000 pamphlets by now of sizes 1 page to 32 pages (mostly 16 pages).
3. To publicize Right to Recall, I contested may-2001 Loksabha elections, and as a result I faced 4 income tax scrutiny. Despite this, I contested one Municipal Corporation election and one Assembly by-election to publicize RTR.
4. I have not taken any donations. All expenses of advertisements, pamphlets, meetings etc. were borne by me and were paid from my post tax income. Only one Indian Express ad was paid by my friend. If a person shows interest in spending money for RTR cause, then instead of taking a donation, I request him to directly spend that money in newspaper advertisement or pamphlet.
5. I have held over 500 meetings in past 13 years, attended by sometimes as few as 2-3 persons and sometimes as many as 50-100 people. Plus I have spent countless hours in explaining RTR in internet forums such as http://bharat-rakshak.com , Facebook communities, orkut communities etc..
6. Plus I have executed several steps I have mentioned chap-13 such as writing postcards, sending emails etc. etc..
I am citing all these, because I want several Recallists to overtake me by doing more than what I have done, without taking donations. And at the same time, I want to pre-inform them, that they too may face Income inquiries and more problems. And in the end, nothing may come out.
The Neo-Recallist movement, as far as I see, will progress only via non-80G-activists and driving force will be their desire to reduce injustice and improve India, and they will see that the RTR-Drafts are necessary and sufficient. The Neo-Recallist movement will never ever get media coverage (till end), any funding from elitemen, but will keep moving on.
Will Neo-Recallists movement that I started in 1998 succeed? I don’t know. Attempts to bring RTR have been 85 year old failure in India. This time, because the movement is draft-led, it will go a long way ahead. Lets us how far it goes, and whether it reaches the destination of getting RTR-drafts in the Gazette.