By Mayank Jain:
It hasn’t even been 20 days since the nation witnessed one of the most interesting political turnarounds when a freshly born and hardly an year old party, focused to weed out corruption, came to power in the national capital city. But all hasn’t exactly been a fairytale for the nascent administration by Aam Aadmi Party.
The party, being true to its name and philosophy of acting like and for the interests of common man, has taken stands and measures that are opportunistic and populist on one hand and also short sighted and bad economics on the other. The party is focused to generate waves and media coverage announcing a slew of gifts to the common man on the streets but none of these make sense to the discerning ones among us. While 700 litres free water may be a good start but not focusing on ensuring that it is made available to have-nots and stealthily adding the condition that one who consumes more than 701 litres will have to pay for the whole consumption is not what fair politics stands for. One can always look beyond the clause, as the honorable chief minister himself said that it will be a measure to inculcate the habit of water conservation and discipline in the citizens, but the question is: What about the ones who don’t have taps/water pipelines at their homes? No answer there.
Same is the case with electricity. The pomp and show with which the AAP promised subsidized electricity was huge and it delivered to some extent by reducing the tariff in half but the over consumption penalty still haunts the people. What about improving conditions and stringent checks on discoms to prevent money laundering and saving money on transmission instead of stealing it from somewhere to put it in the pockets of agencies? No answer there too.
Recently, the party hasn’t been able to live up to the expectations of the people and it is unfortunate to note that the criticisms are flowing in from not just the opposition but major business stalwarts and political observers as well, even the commoners are alarmed as the party falls from one controversy into another. From Arvind Kejriwal’s much heated up search for a living quarter to the questions on party’s stand on issues apart from corruption, there is a long way for the party to reach a stable stage of administration.
The party’s decision to disallow FDI in multi brand retail in Delhi is being critically analyzed far and wide and there are more people opposing the stand than the ones supporting it. It is one issue to protect the interests of small businesses but it is totally another to blanket ban the opportunity for the national capital to gain global competitiveness and cutting edge technologies that FDI brings with itself. Also, how will not allowing more stores in the city help the youth get jobs? Captain Gopinath, who is from the party itself has spoken strongly against the party’s stand too, calling it bizarre. “The manner in which it has been done in Delhi, it will send a wrong signal to investors. We have Indian corporates who are allowed retail outlets, so why not foreign? Bit bizarre. I feel AAP should step back on this. Nothing should be done in haste,” he has pointed out.
Another bone of contention has been raised by the party’s own candidate, MLA Vinod Kumar Binny, who has alleged that party is “deviating” from its core principles. He also took the opportunity of a press conference to call Arvind Kejriwal a “dictator” and pointed out the flaws between the promises and their fulfillment including the issues of water and electricity.
While this may just be a voice of a rebel seeking political gains but this does bring to light an important problem with the party, it is lost. The party is lost between so many ideals, people from diverse backgrounds and their ideologies and the populist stands it has taken in the past have become benchmarks in the mind of the common man, but not everything can be decided by a raise of hands.
Somnath Bharti, the law minister from the party, has been subject of some controversies. He has been a successful lawyer but all was not rosy in his career, reports suggest that he has been accused ofÂ “tampering with evidence” by a Patiala House court. If, out of the magnanimity of our hearts, we do let bygones be bygones, even then our law minister falls miserably short of the required level of sincerity and consideration. He has acknowledged yesterday that he accidently revealed the name of the Danish woman who was gang raped in Connaught Place. The party which criticized the Congress for lack of safety of women now finds itself on thin ice as it deals with a gruesome gang rape happening under its nose and the law minister himself flouting the laws.
As if this were not enough, the party has waged a war with the Delhi Police as well. Somnath Bharti was recorded on footage, shouting at Delhi Police because they didn’t carry out a late night raid without a warrant in the areas of South Delhi as per his orders, as a drug and sex racket is running from a building in that area according to his allegations. A raid cannot be conducted without a search warrant at night as per the law. The party chief, Arvind Kejriwal, has however come out to back his minister and demanded resignations of the police officers involved.
It all looks like a farce now. The party which once appeared to be a fresh wave of change from usual politics is making blunders everyday by the dozens and is not able to adapt from the change in the environment and expectations from activism to governance. One is bound to feel cheated once they analyze the recent events and the ridiculous comments that have been pouring from all over the party on issues of importance, and one can only hope that they are learning.
With his eyes set on the Lok Sabha elections, Arvind Kejriwal is a busy man right now with lots of campaigning and strategizing to be done to make a substantial dent in the BJP and Congress’ tally of seats, but his own constituency and city which elected him suffers from bad governance, to put it bluntly. The Aam Aadmi Party has had a dream run until now but if the party fails to buckle up and become the ‘common man’s party’ once again, it will be a just another story of failure from inflexibility in the books of history. It is like watching a movie with great teasers but a cracked storyline.
I, for one, want my money back, anyone else?