INERTIA among the leadership in organising protests and enlisting new members could jeopardise the Democratic Party's public support, Andrew To Kwan-hang warns. A Wong Tai Sin Provisional District Board member, Mr To, 32, says the party has so indulged in its dreams of trying to be a 'ruling party' that it has overlooked work at district level. 'It is sad to see the same group of 10 or so representatives or members taking part in various protests every time,' he said. The party has about 500 members, a number he considers too small for the most influential pro-democracy party in Hong Kong. 'We need to recruit more activists. 'We need to encourage more people to take part in politics. 'Politics is not party affairs. It is about the masses.' True to his belief in participation, Mr To has been a social activist since his college days. He used to be the students' head of Lingnan College. In 1989, he joined the leadership of Hong Kong's most influential student group, the Hong Kong Federation of Students. Only four days after taking the helm of the federation, he led a delegation to Beijing to support the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen. The following year, he led 3,000 students in a street protest against the drafting exercise of the Basic Law, which he condemned as a shameful sellout of Hong Kong people's interests. As he gained influence in the liberal camp, he was entrusted with preparing for the territory's first pro-democracy political party, the United Democrats of Hong Kong. He tried his hand in elections a year later and won a seat in the 1991 district board elections in the constituency of Wong Tai Sin. Mr To believes the pre-handover period was the golden time of the Democratic Party. 'But it seems the party fails to catch up with the new political environment and is distancing itself from the masses,' he said. Mr To admits his is still a minority view inside the party, but the row he stirred up made headlines recently after he led what was described as a coup d'etat. He supported party veteran Lau Chin-shek for the party vice-chairmanship. Mr Lau won by beating Dr Anthony Cheung Bing-leung. Mr Lau eventually resigned. Mr To would not deny that it was a coup attempt, but says: 'It is to raise the alarm to the party leadership. 'They seem to lack a sense of crisis.' A popularity poll two months ago found the Federation of Trade Unions had overtaken the Democrats as the most popular political group in Hong Kong. Mr To says: 'Some party members thought it was a power struggle. 'It was not. 'It is important for a party advocating democracy to adopt a more democratic approach when dealing with internal affairs.'