Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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Upadhyaya urges greater autonomy for civic bodies

[Organiser, 27 August, 1962]
Kanpur civic reception to BJS leader

Kanpur, 17 August, Sri Deendayal Upadhyaya, General Secretary, Bharatiya Jana Sangh, said here yesterday that there should be absolute autonomy for the civic bodies if they were to have any measure of success in local administration at all.

Sri Upadhyaya was replying to address of welcome presented to him the Nagpur Mahapalika at the Corporation Bhawan. Local administration, Sri Upadhyaya said, was the foundation of democratic government and on the success of the local bodies depended the success of democracy itself.

In the welcome address, Mayor Dr. Dhirendra Nath Banerji referred to him as a ‘devotes of India’s ancient culture and traditions’ and as one ‘who had dedicated himself to associated movements.’

Dr. Banerji spoke about the ‘baffling’ civic problems of Kanpur and said that the Corporation had been trying to solve them, ‘with a non-partisan outlook’. ‘We seek your good-wishes in this task,’ Dr, Banerji said.
Replying to the address the BJS leader said that the sort of goodwill and broadmindedness which had underscored this invitation extended to him was the very basis of a successful democracy. Political differences ought to be no bar in the way of cordial relations. Occasions must be created to afford opportunities to understand each other’s view point. And then, in civic matters, political differences had almost no relevance
Sri Upadhyaya referred to Pandit Nehru’s characterisation of industrial centres as ‘pilgrimages of the modern age,’ and said that in that context Kanpur was the largest ‘pilgrim-centre in the State. Then, Kanpur had been Karmabhoomi for many of India’s freedom-fighters.

Their one god

As an industrial city, Sri Upadhyaya continued, Kanpur was in the same class as Bombay, Ahmedabad and Bangalore. Most of them who came to these cities had only one object, one ambition. They had just one God–the Rupee. And there in lay the sign of modern life. This was an ever-present danger in these industrial cities, that gradually the dwellers here could be uprooted from their traditional moorings and converted into worshippers of Mammon.

Sri Upadhyaya felt that the civic body ought to concern itself with this aspect also, and examine whether it could make any contribution towards checking this baneful process.

Sri Upadhyaya said that in his tours around UP, particularly the eastern parts, an almost invariable reply from most revellers to the query, ‘Where are you bound for?’ would be ‘For Kanpur’. No wonder, Sri Upadhyaya said that the population of Kanpur had been multiplying rapidly. This imposed a great burden on the civic body.
The BJS leaders said that he was happy to note that the Nagar Mahapalika was working in a team spirit and with the cooperation of all parties and thus establishing a healthy tradition in civic administration.

Sri Upadhyaya stressed the urgency of finding some independent sources of income for financing the development schemes of the Corporation and warned against too much dependence on loans from the State and Central Governments.

He said that civic bodies should be given a statutory place in the Constitution it self as a basic unit of our democratic structure and should not just derive their authority from state legislation.

More than one thousand invitees attended this function help in the local Corporation Bhavan.
Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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