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What Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP Has (And Hasn’t) Done For Delhi Since 2015

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By Disha Sharma

Otto Von Bismark once said, “Politics is the art of next best.”

The thought mentioned above was something that people started to believe in Delhi two years ago because they wanted to try a new option. I also thought the same way.

The recent outburst of Chikungunya shows the incompetency of political parties to reach a solution. Ignoring blame games, my analysis shows the bundle of excuses made to avoid the development in Delhi.

Almost one year has passed since Delhi gave Arvind Kejriwal an opportunity to showcase his talents of administering Delhi. But concrete results are still hidden somewhere behind the dark clouds of controversies that shadow development.

During the last days of Congress when the people in Delhi were struggling to find an escape from rising inflation and crime rates, a common man’s hero emerged. As a universal franchise holder, all 18-year-olds and above, including me, thought that a drop-out from a government job will handle Delhi’s administration better. A powerful campaign was prepared that propagated the message of ‘Swaraj’ in Delhi.

Although the results of 2013 Delhi Assembly Election did not play a significant role in making the upcoming party a powerful one it still left its imprint by winning 28 of the 70 seats. The cherry on the cake was AAP’s resignation within 49 days of coming to power. It left quite an impression on the public and possibly made more space for it to gain support in the next election.

Strong campaigning and sloganeering outshone the Congress’ legacy through a genuine effort at transparently crowdsourcing funds, resulting in the collapse of a long-running reign of Sheila Dixit. Kejriwal made a remarkable comeback by winning 67 of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly election in 2015. Indeed, it was an unprecedented win for a political party that was in its infancy.

Praises apart, the AAP entered the game of politics with simple rules that party members will work in the interest of the public. Therefore, the promises were listed down as a 70-point Action Plan of the party (later broken down into a 90-action plan) to make the capital city a better place for the public to live.

Out of 78 promises, only 18 promises were fulfilled including the Delhi Jan Lok Pal bill, the Citizen’s Charter while most of the other promises were quoted as less important for the common masses. The prominent promises which made the Delhi CM, the popular face in Delhi were – CCTVs for women’s security, free WiFi, a strong anti-corruption position, reducing pollution, and governance on mobile phones.

A Quick Analysis Of Kejriwal And The AAP’s Performance So Far –

1) Promise: The Delhi Government will provide CCTV facility in public spaces to provide security to women.

Initiative: The government asked the Delhi Police for a list of dark spots across the capital. The government might need to recruit home guards if they were to deploy them as marshalls. The government was also planning to recruit people from the civil defence forces and post them as marshals.

Result: MLAs of AAP ended up in a cobweb of controversies where the party’s logic behind providing safety to women through the installation CCTVs in public spaces invited wrath. A pilot scheme for installation of CCTV cameras in 200 DTC buses was launched.

Note that Mr Kejriwal had promised to install 10-15 lakh CCTV cameras across the city. But the government is now in the homework phase to formulate a city-wide policy for acceptable certifications and getting security clearances.

2) Promise: Free water facility to all the households, scrapping the annual hike in rates introduced by the Sheila Dikshit government and cracking down on the tanker mafia.

Initiative: Water supply increased by 60 million gallons of water per day on an average, and 205 colonies have been added to the network. Of the 1,639 unauthorised colonies in Delhi, 1,105 colonies have piped water now.

Result: But projects, like installing GPS on all tankers and setting up drinking water kiosks, have been delayed.

3) Promise: To fight against corruption.

Initiative: The Delhi government set up a team to monitor the corruption practices in government offices and launched an Anti-Corruption helpline. During the tenure of the Kejriwal government, ACB claimed that 35 officials have been arrested on corruption charges. The officials belonged to Agriculture produce market committee, two officials from the MCD and one official each from the PWD and Delhi Police.

However, advertisements released by the Delhi Govt. stated that 35 officials were arrested and 152 suspended since the re-launch of the anti-corruption helpline.

Result: According to this media report, around 48 cases were registered against the 21 legislators of Aam Aadmi Party under various charges of molestation, forgery and cheating. Among them was Rajendra Kumar and Tarun Sharma in relation to a 50-crore scam linked to various contracts.

4) Promise: Suraksha Button.

The Delhi Govt. will provide a Suraksha/SOS button on every mobile phone. The Suraksha Button will be connected to the police, nearest PCR vans, relatives and volunteer communities.

Initiative: Not taken.
Results: Awaited.

5) Promise: To reduce pollution.

Initiative: The two phases of Odd-Even scheme was initiated with an aim to reduce the pollution levels in the capital.

Result: A highly publicised measure to curb the pollution in Delhi was praised as well as criticised.

According to The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) analysis, only 17% decrease in car numbers and 13% increase in vehicle speed was observed. In contrast, the first phase saw a 21% reduction in cars and 18% increase in speed. During phase one, there was an increase of 25%, 22%, and 27% in PM2.5, PM10, and NOx concentrations, respectively. In the second phase, however, the increase was 39%, 26%, and 25%, respectively. Moreover, a lack of research and planning can also be identified with the initiative. Executing Odd-Even with less number of public transports added more problems to common people.

Possible Reasons For The Failure Of Certain Initiatives:

1. Controversies with LG: Already, the party was facing a lot of internal conflicts, a yet another controversy helped Kejriwal to stay in the headlines. For a few months, we watched an entertainment show between where the LG and the CM over the appointment of Chief Secretary of the ACB and the Chief of Delhi Commission for Women.

2. ‘Thulla’ remark: Using a derogatory word like ‘Thulla’ for cops gives an impression that not only the language of the politicians have degraded but also the party’s capability to work in unison with other departments.

3. Centre V/S AAP: Controversies with the Central government in connection with the DDCA scam and the demand that Delhi be given statehood in itself showed the ignorance of the party members to work for Delhi. Accusing PM Modi as ‘psychopath’, ‘coward’ or the suspicion of getting killed showed the disinterest of the party to work for the people.

Overall Result

Although the Delhi chief minister Kejriwal is treated as a ‘messiah’ of the people but he seems to have lost himself to satisfy his hunger for power and money to fulfil his political ambitions.

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Image source: Hindustan Times/Getty Images

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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