Is AAP failing to remain a common man’s party?

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The Aam Aadmi Party, that second time came to power in 2015 after a massive victory in Delhi assembly polls, completed its three years. While the Arvind Kejriwal-led government continues to pursue its populist schemes such as power and water subsidy, it failed to address the critical problems of pollution and poor public transport. Somewhat the power houses in central too succeeded in weakening Delhi government by all means. Kejriwal often quotes the social justice maxim. Those who have less in life should have more in law. When AAP came to power, everyone thought that the future India would care about the fundamental human values and rights of its citizens in a caring and compassionate manner.

The practice of democracy cannot be limited to only voting in elections. It is important for citizens to participate in local decision-making during the entire term of their elected representatives. Ongoing citizen participation in dialogues with their representatives about changing priorities and spending decisions is crucial for the long term well-being of any community and to ensure that government is accountable to public, who are voting for them. This should be done in any department of the government. Everything should be transparent — be it Police, government departments, party funds, government getting funds etc. Initially, AAP was very much prompt in declaring their donations on their official websites, they gave lot of preferences to people and indulged in gatherings and meetings but eventually Kejriwal failed on mob control, and his rivals too took an advantage by attacking him publically. Somehow Kejriwal got detached from common men and he too got transformed to political culture.

No caste or appeasement politics is the biggest strength of Arvind Kejriwal’s vision. This is what differentiates rest of the parties with his vision. There can be no two ways about it. If any party do it then it’s wrong, period. Most of the government neglect lower and middle class for the rich. Arvind Kejriwal’s vision was to focus on real problems of people on the ground, struggling for their day to day lives. To ensure medical insurance for each and every citizen, the AAP govt started giving them affordable health care like Mohalla Clinics. He saved them from overpricing of power companies and took steps to give them free lifeline water. He also ensured that education is not very costly for their children and also warned private schools for hiking fees; he went ahead to make sure roads and infrastructure are good for citizens. His vision was also to focus on lower and middle class because rich ones are already empowered. These some of the basic things were enforced in Arvind Kejriwal’s vision. To some extent his visions are implemented successfully but at large he always remained in controversy and he grabbed lot of defame. Although it’s sad to see that Arvind Kejriwal is trying his hand in appeasement and caste politics. When one of AAP councillors was beaten by BJP councillors, then the below was Arvind Kejriwal’s and few AAP leaders’ and even ministers’ reaction. Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Utterly shameful. BJP is a party of gundas. Rakesh is dalit. BJP assaulting dalits all over India in a systematic way.” It’s very sad to see them doing conventional old politics.

Let’s look at his achievements and unfulfilled promises; 50 per cent power subsidy on electricity bills continues, no major hike in power tariff, free water or free 20 kilolitre water scheme continues. In education department, over 8,000 classrooms, including refurbished ones, are built. Teachers get specialised training, private schools are not allowed to hike fees, Rs 10 lakh loan for higher education is also there. Mohalla Clinics — of 180 clinics, 160 are providing free healthcare while sites has been identified for 668 more. Minimum wages of unskilled workers have been increased from Rs 9,724 to Rs 13,350, for semi-skilled workers from Rs 10,764 to Rs 14,698 and for skilled labourers from Rs 11,830 to Rs 16,182 per month.

AAP’s list of achievements also includes — disability pension, old age pension and widow pension have been increased by Rs 1,000 each; compensation scheme is at hand where the family of any security personnel get Rs 1 crore in case of their on-duty death; development in illegal colonies — lying drains sewer lines and water pipelines are underway. Government claims all colonies to be covered by December. Ease of documents also plays a major part — 200 categories of affidavits sought by various departments, local bodies and other organisations are junked, only self-certification is required now. VAT rates reduced in several categories from 12.5 per cent to 5 per cent. However, in July last year, the GST was implemented in Delhi. The L-G did not approve the proposal of Swaraj Bill which the government calls the Mohalla Sabha Bill. The Delhi Assembly passed the Jan Lokpal Bill in 2015 but it is pending for Centre’s approval. Promise to develop a 5-km riverfront on Yamuna is not fulfilled. Former water minister Kapil Mishra had announced to make Yamuna fit for bathing in 36 months. There is no concrete plan yet. Free Wi-Fi Project is yet to take off as no tender is issued yet. Aam Aadmi Canteen plans to open 100 canteens, offering low-cost food. One canteen was opened in LNJP Hospital on pilot basis, but it was shut down after two months. The plan to open 20 new Degree Colleges was junked since affiliated colleges can be opened only with Delhi University. No new DTC buses have been seen but 2,000 buses are likely to be rolled out by end of this year. Last-mile connectivity also remains poor. To regularise illegal colonies, government has begun the survey to identify such colonies now. The government has only built 21,000 community toilets out of the 1.5 lakh target. The Rs 5,000-crore-plan to redesign 10 roads to decongest them is stuck in bureaucratic hurdles. The plan to build an east-west elevated corridor (Anand Vihar Terminal to Peera-garhi) and north-south corridor (Wazirabad to Airport) is yet to see the light of the day.

Here are some of the schemes and projects that the AAP government plans to bring in over the next two years. Doorstep delivery of services — birth, death, income, caste certificates, driving licence and ration cards to be delivered at doorstep. The installation of 1.4 lakh CCTV cameras in all residential areas and markets across the city is supposed to begin mostly by October 2018; plans afoot to put cameras in buses and schools. 25 skill centres across Delhi to be opened in the next two years. One such centre has been approved at Jona Pur. Anganwadis will also be revamped. 500 kms of PWD roads will be beautified with plants, shrubs and artworks. Before it completes its five-year term in 2020, the AAP government in Delhi will face tests of popularity in the form of a likely by-poll in 20 assembly seats and election to the seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

The Election Commission had disqualified 20 AAP MLAs for holding office of profit. After the legislators approached the Delhi High Court, it restrained the poll panel from announcing by-polls till the matter is pending with the court. Next year, the party will be testing waters in the Lok Sabha polls against a dominant Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and a resurgent Congress. The party fortunes depend on works accomplished by its government.

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Vaidehi

Vaidehi

Vaidehi, is an investigative Journalist, Editor, Ethical hacker, Philanthropist, Author and an inspiration to many. She is Group Editor of Newsmakers Broadcasting and Communications Pvt. Ltd. Since 8 years, which features an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi daily tabloid – Mee Mumbaikar, monthly magazines like Hackers5, Beyond the news (international) and Maritime Bridges, dedicated to IT industry, Indian news to the world and shipping industry, respectively. Besides the business perspective, she is an Offensive Security Certified Professional (OSCP), Certified Security Analyst and is also a Licensed Penetration Tester.
Vaidehi