Delhi Assembly Elections Results were recently declared and to everyone’s surprise AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) won the elections with astounding 67 seats out of 70 seats. It was an unimaginable feet by any political party who is hardly 2 years old in politics. Even the party itself was not able to believe the results. Everybody started introspecting and wanted to know how this has happened. There are various reasons given by different sections of the society for this amazing achievement of AAP. Just to name a few:
- Other parties such as BJP and Congress underestimated the power of the common man – the Aam Aadmi by taking them for granted.
- BJP was too confident after Lok Sabha and State Polls that they will be able to win this time too without actually addressing the core issues
- Congress has lost the charm with the voters with performance going down with every election.
- The time between last 2014 Delhi Elections and 2015 Delhi Elections gave enough time to AAP to convince the voters that they can fulfill their promises. Apology from AAP did seem to work and they were able to strike a chord with voters again.
- The choice of CM candidate for BJP was a wrong step as it created internal fighting within the party reducing the morale of the party workers
- The freebies promised by AAP to lower faction of the society such as free water, reduced electricity bill, free Wi-Fi, corruption free Delhi, Opening of new colleges and schools etc.
Nonetheless AAP did a great job. Congratulations!!
However in this article I would like to address the promises they made to the voters and do little bit of introspection.
There were some of the important promises which have been made by AAP in the election manifesto. Some seems to be a good move and other seems to be somewhat populist measures which will have a burden on exchequer. Let’s start analyzing the promises and understand its implication. This post is not meant to criticize any of the points but to highlight some of the key loopholes which I am not sure whether AAP has analyzed it. If they have done the detailed analysis are these promises going to be fulfilled with lots of underlying caveats which has not been told to voters ? Some may agree with the reasoning while others may differ. But still I would like to put forth my views.
Passage of Delhi Janlokpal Bill
The Jan Lokpal Bill gave birth to AAP so no doubt this obviously would have been the first action point in manifesto. The Janlokpal Bill is being touted as some revolutionary step which will remove the corruption from the root. Though lots of debate has happened over this bill in last few months the viability and feasibility of success is still to be determined. I think it should be understood that no bill or law can remove the corruption. Most of the countries have strict laws but does that mean there is no corruption in those countries. I believe that if people are determined not to promote corruption then only it can be removed else no matter how strict is the law it will not be effective. People who have wrong motives will always be able to find the ways to move things around. But let’s hope at least it will be a respite for ordinary people with no selfish motive who are unnecessarily asked to pay bribe even for small things. Let’s hope the bill actually does something good and we are able to achieve corruption free Delhi.
Legislation on Swaraj Bill
This bill talks on giving power to the people. The idea behind the bill is that the decision for all local affairs will be taken by the citizens. It seems interesting but if decisions are to be taken by citizens then what’s the purpose of holding elections and choosing representative. It is a well known saying that power corrupts people. By giving power to so many people to take decisions will it not create a scope for corruption? Till now only politician and govt. employees were blamed for high level corruption and now we are adding one more layer to it. There is no guarantee that the local community representative will not follow corrupt practices.
Ideally the people should have been given a platform to tell their grievances and the MLAs should have weekly and fortnightly meeting addressing their ward explaining on how the issue is being handled and what is the current status.
Full statehood for Delhi
The idea behind this action point is that DDA, MCD & Delhi Police will be accountable to Delhi Government rather than the central government and Delhi government will be able to take certain decisions regarding Delhi.
Since Delhi is also the abode for national leaders and central govt. offices how these things can be kept out of state jurisdiction will be a bone of contention. Even if this issue is resolved the moment it achieves statehood lot of subsidies from center will stop which means they have to increase the revenue to handle the additional responsibilities of running DDA, MCD and Delhi Police. This I believe one would not be able to achieve without increasing the tax.
Electricity bills to be halved
This can be considered as populist measure to woo the voters. It is beyond understanding that if the audit of Power Distribution Companies verifies that the there is no anomaly related to power pricing how AAP will fulfill this promise. Their whitepaper itself mentions that the Delhi government cannot pay the debt of Power Distribution Companies as the state budget is very small. Then on what pretext and assumption is this promise made? Already there is news that this subsidy will cost Delhi Government 1600 Crore Per Annum. Then how this is going to be achieved without increasing the tax burden? If Delhi govt. is not able to give it for long term will it not be termed as false promise?
Discom Portability will definitely increase competition. But will the tariff actually reduce? What if the Power Distribution Companies collude? What if they introduce the high transfer charge which actually reduces the benefits? And not to forget high operation cost associated with setting up this infrastructure which definitely will be more complex than the Mobile Number Portability. These questions are still open and responses will take time in shaping up.
To move toward Alternative Source of Energy such as solar energy is indeed a good move and I appreciate the vision. But again the question arise where will they get the money to implement this at such as large scale?
Clean Drinking Water
Providing clean drinking water is another main agenda which I appreciate. In India getting a clean drinking water is both an issue and a concern. How this will be done without burdening tax payers we have to wait and watch.
This is yet another policy which though important has been proposed in a wrong manner. Water is a right of everyone but how they are going to provide subsidy for it, is a concern. We need to understand that Delhi is not a resource rich state; It neither has its own power generation plant or a water source. Only water source which is there is river Yamuna which is no longer suitable. So for all the basic needs it has to borrow from other states. So how state will able to provide the subsidy has to be quantified. Even if they are able to manage somehow it will not be a viable option in long run without increasing the source of revenue.
Cleaning of Yamuna
This I believe will be there in the mind of every Delhi citizen and it’s good to know that it was in the political agenda of all parties in this election. Cleaning of Yamuna will require huge layout of funds and also building of stricter norms for emission of factory and household waste into the water sources. Without increasing the revenue or without getting funds from center or upsetting the industries how this will be achieved we will have to follow it closely.
New schools & Colleges
I appreciate this move but it seems we have forgotten something. The basic ingredients which are required for opening new schools and colleges are – land to construct and good faculty. I fail to understand where in Delhi is the empty space until and unless all the schools and colleges are opened in suburbs or they are one room college or school. Moreover India is already facing a crunch in good faculties. So how we are going to achieve this, future only can tell. The ideal thing should have been first improving the infrastructure of existing schools and colleges.
E-governance is something which is being also implemented by BJP at the national level. E-governance is the need of the hour and is good step to reduce corruption.
Free Wi-Fi throughout Delhi
At the time of election, Free Wi-Fi was promised. No doubt they are implementing it but nobody knew that it will come with lots of caveats which I believe was intentionally not told to voters at the time of rallies. The free Wi-Fi comes with many caveats such as access restriction to certain sites, free only for half hour and then paid etc.
There are already round of jokes floating in social media highlighting how voters were mislead in believing that it will be absolutely free. Moreover for free Wi-Fi who will be paying the money? Nobody thought it right? The same IT professionals and middle class people who pay taxes.
So it leaves us with serious concerns which we all should have thought thru
- How these subsidies will be paid without increasing the taxes or burden on the middle class.?
- How much support center can provide financially to Delhi if it becomes state?
- Is this just like any another election in which freebies were announced and we voters just went and gave our votes or we thought through all this?
- Is AAP has only short term vision or they have concrete long term plan to achieve this?
- Will this be an efficient government which will work cohesively or will again go and sit on Dharnas by blaming others for each issue if they are not able to fulfill?
Since AAP has passed the first challenge with highest marks now they have to meet the people’s expectations and they will be scrutinised with minute details.
Let’s hope all goes well for Delhi and the Nation and this turns out to be the right decision for Delhi Citizens.