From Kejriwal’s 18 preposterous demands, one gets the impression that his Aam Aadmi Party does not have a plan or a strategy towards the end.
When AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal was invited by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung to discuss government formation, he found himself in a spot where he was ready to play an upper hand. With 10 days in hand from Jung Kejriwal fired a letter towards Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and BJP president Rajnath Singh. In the letter, he put forth 18 demands for accepting their support.
It was more like saying that ‘you do not tell me that you wish to support me but I will tell you whether you are eligible or not’.
But here is where Kejriwal lost his upper hand. He is yet not ready to form the government despite staking claim to the victory which he says is the victory of the people of Delhi. He perhaps forgets that the BJP won more seats than AAP and has collected more vote counts than it while saying so.
His 18 demands not only look preposterous on paper, they make one wonder whether the AAP leaders have the sufficient knowledge of Indian Constitution. However, a few of them are sane, yet they lack practical purpose.
So what are they? They are mere delaying tactics which keep the suspense around AAP keeping it in the news. It is like hogging the limelight without any substance and fooling the public constantly.
Here is how:
1. No red light beacons, big houses or special security for VIPs
Kejriwal needs to be reminded that the Supreme Court has already given a decision on the use of red-beacons. He just needs to stop evading responsibility and form the government in Delhi to implement it. There are only three months (in fact less than that) to get the work done.
On big houses for VIPs, house for MPs, MLAs and ministers are allotted by the government. He can look to it if he forms the government. He can direct his own MLAs and ministers to live in their homes or in modest ‘sarkari quarters’.
Security for the VIPs is important as they do fall in vulnerable category for the work they carry out. There have been incidences when politicians have been attacked. Also, the security is given to the VIPs on the basis of requirement decided by home ministry. Hope he has not forgotten the ink attack on himself. Who knows, next time it is knives?
2. Full statehood for Delhi, control over Delhi Development Authority
Really Kejriwal? You were an IRS officer and you must know that it falls under the Centre list. Every party, including AAP, made it a part of their manifesto so that when they form the government in Delhi they lobby the central government for the same. So this demand, either to BJP or Congress falls flat because it will be implemented only when you form the government. And they can promise it to you easily. But Mayawati passed a resolution for cutting UP in four parts sometimes back. Did it work? NO.
3. Pass Janlokpal Bill
Again, state governments CANNOT PASS JANLOKPAL. They can only pass Lokayukta Bill. The centre is already onto passing Lokpal. It is you who is trying to stop it by your twitter activism.
4. No FDI in retail trade
Congress supports FDI, BJP opposes it. Can be discussed. Even AAP promised to tackle this issue by referendum in Delhi. Why sudden change of heart? Also, you can oppose it and not allow Centre to do it in your state. But demanding it from BJP and Congress for government formation in Delhi? Oh yeah, they will promise it to you. But will it mean any achievement for you? Nada.
5. Special audit of private electricity companies in Delhi
Go ahead, form the government, do it. But what will you do when you will find out that the power companies are running in losses? You will increase the electricity bills, no?
6. People to take decisions directly in neigbourhood “Mohalla Sabhas”
Good thinking. We already have Panchayati system which is also ‘constitutional’. But isn’t it why there is an MLA or ward officer? Why don’t you form a government and keep them in check? Also, giving the power of public spending in the hands of these sabhas does not ensure a clean governmet. What are the chances that the persons in charge of mohalla sabhas will not become rent seeker for each approval? I will tell you – MANY.
7. Regularisation of unauthorized colonies
The Economic Times reported that former Union minister and BJP leader Arun Shourie, who has written extensively on governance issues, says “this is a policy that will lead to anarchy and chaos”. Shourie’s argument was echoed by Delhi bureaucrats with experience in dealing with urban problems. They said a stroke-of-a-pen regularisation will not just incentivise future bad behavior on part of developers it will also put enormous pressure on a civic administration that’s already stretched. Shourie said if AAP wants to make an effective intervention, it should throw its weight behind low-income housing.
Also, legalizing unauthorised colonies is a signal to builder mafia that they can get away by building sub-standard illegal colonies. Instead impose fine on the builders of these colonies, order them to correct the flaws in construction. Once they comply, and then only legalize them.
8. 700 lts free water supply to each household
Again, Delhi has 11 million (1.10 crore) persons. Assuming 4 persons per family and Rs 5 to produce a kilolitre of water; we would require Rs 94.5 lakh per day or Rs 340 crore for a year. The production cost will be huge for which another source of funding will have to be found.If at all AAP and Kejriwal succeed in removing corruption, the population of Delhi will increase (it is already a migrant’s city). The source of revenue will fall every year and the cost of keeping the promise will rise.
Given the fact that BJP and Congress already support this cause, form a government, improve monitoring of water pipelines and accelerate laying of new ones.
9. Check electricity metres
Again, please see your fifth demand AAP.
10. Pukka houses for slum dwellers
This is a good idea. But we already have Indira Aawas Yojana. You do not have to think much. Make houses under Indira Aawas Yojna and distribute. Who needs a law? Mayawati built some in Lucknow.
11. More hospitals
Last time we checked, opening government hospitals requires no support from other parties. Form the government and do it. But we already have so many hospitals in Delhi. Why don’t regulate them and make PHCs reach the last mile?
In fact we will add another thing here. Demand more medical seats in medical colleges from central government so that the hospitals can no longer have shortage of doctors and other staff. But for that you will have to form the government.
12. Open 500 schools, stop donation in private schools
There are already over 5000 schools in Delhi. How much more do you want? Instead, regulate them so that they fill up the seats properly. Also, start lobbying for small ‘mohalla’ schools who do not comply with every rule of RTE but do help low-income people to teach their children.
And donations in private schools are already banned. Keep up with news! Form a government and implement it.
13. Special security unit for women
You need to sensitise people for this. Security doesn’t always mean freedom from harassment or crime. Keep the police up on their toes. Provide better lighting in every nook and corner of Delhi. Ensure better vigil. You didn’t have to demand it. It will be your decision when you form a government.
14. Corruption in Judiciary, more courts and judges, fast track courts for atrocities against women
Are you kidding me? What does a state government has to do with judiciary? You can only lobby central government for it!
Also, there is already a provision in law for fast track courts for atrocities against women. You do not need support for that. The state government can effectively do it.
And more court and more judges is a central government decision. UPSC takes the exam, you should know it Kejriwal. Afterall, you took one, though for civil services and not judicial services.
15. Liberalisation of VAT for traders
Instead of this, you should have pitched for GST implementation.
16. Facilities for farmers
Where are farmers in Delhi??? And there are number of facilities/ provisions/schemes being run by central government which needs implementation. State governments are very much capable of doing so. Form the government!
17. Regular jobs for contract workers in Delhi government
See, there is already a bill underway on this by the central government. And this needs broad discussion. Not holding gun of support and getting it.
18. Municipal Corp must be supportive
When it was not? BJP has the reigns of Municipal Corps in Delhi and if you take their support, or either support them, it will be a win-win. You didn’t actually have to demand it.
One may also think from the list of lame demands that AAP threw in the face of the public that the party has forgot that it won Delhi elections and not general elections. The party must work for the long haul. Else, one gets the impression that it does not have a plan or a strategy towards that end.