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.
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.
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.
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.
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.