Kamal’s MNM to hold Grama Sabha meetings across TN 2 Oct

Chennai: Kamal Haasan and his Makkal Needhi Maiam party members are on a mission to resurrect the long-lost tradition of holding Grama Sabha meetings. Come 2 October, they are planning to hold such meets across the State.

While the metropolitan cities have bodies for major problems, the villages are left with the Panchayat and minor administrative bodies to resolve the grievances. To hear out, debate and explore solutions to the disputes was ‘Grama Sabha’ conceptualised 25 years ago.

Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi supported and corroborated this idea to uplift the villages during several occasions. He even said that the concept forms the foundation of Indian democracy.

However, over the years, the organising of the Grama Sabha meet has been dwindling. But little do we know that the decisions taken in the meet has to be accepted by the Supreme Court, one of the strongest pillars in the democratic form of system. To revive the tradition and make people aware of it, Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) has been organising the meet in several districts in the State since this year.

Talking about it, MNM spokesperson Murali Abbas said, “Lately, this form of addressing people’s problems are being conducted just for namesake and people don’t intend to participate unlike during the inception time.”

“It is one of the most important forms of governing the grassroots as it connects with citizens effectively. To bring back the practice, MNM has began to hold ‘model Grama Sabha’ since 2017 where several concerns are brought to the fore with effective participation from the local residents,” added the spokesperson.

After bringing the custom meeting to the light, it has been held twice with the support of the party. In the two instances, the former Finance Minister P Chidambaram and the Dharmapuri MP Anbumani Ramadoss have taken part as a way to encourage the local population. The party has been taking effective measures to seek permission for hosting the third meeting from the Collectors of the respective villages.

As it falls on the same day which marks the birth of Mahatma Gandhi who is regarded as the crusader in promoting the village-level meet, the party dedicates it to him and wishes to bring the custom back as it was a few years ago.

“As part of the tradition, the announcement of the meet has to be conveyed to the villagers through thandora seven days in advance. Even this is not being kept up and we have taken up the task of announcing to them,” said he. “Through the last two meets, we have tried to attract some traction from several leaders and have taken up the complaints,” added he.

Since the inception of the party, the members have been actively advocating the grassroots-level practice, aims to take it to every single village in the State and settle the problems all by the local residents of the village.

In the Mobile Marketing Association 2018 SMARTIES India Awards and Forum, among several competitors, Maiam Whistle, Makkal Needhi Maiam’s app, has won two top honours. It won silver in Social Impact/ Not for Profit and bronze in location based service /targeting categories.

An elated Kamal Haasan tweeted, “It is a rare honour for a political party. I thank my men who used the app to resolve various issues and redress the grievance of people.”



Bhavani Prabhakar