Indian politics is going through some really interesting times. Not only has the public shown more enthusiasm in coming out and voting, they are even showing a keen interest in what follows. And the credit for this rests entirely on the shoulder of three men - Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Narendra Modi.
Each has contributed to this excitement in some way or the other but as of now; the man who is garnering most attention is Arvind Kejriwal, the leader of AAP (aam aadmi party). Ever since faring decently well in Delhi state elections (28 out of 70 is decent and in no way a victory as he would like us to believe, victory is when you win majority or form government), Arvind Kejriwal and co. are making a lot of news and it must be duly noted that their arrival has forced old parties like BJP and congress to take voters more seriously. Such was the impact of AAP’s performance that BJP had to decline the invite to form government in spite of being only 4 short of requisite number of 36. It is sad though that instead of welcoming this change in politics, the underdogs have mocked it.
Anyway coming back to the topic of Delhi, now that BJP had declined then as per rulebooks the onus was on AAP to stake claim for forming government being the 2nd biggest party in Delhi assembly. And justifying his ideology Arvind Kejriwal kept on stating over and over that they are ready for re-election. On the other hand the ultimate opportunist, Indian National Congress offered unconditional support to AAP, laying a trap for them to fall in. Now a sensible approach would have been to say no in clear terms and start gearing for new elections, but how can we be sensible riding on this wave of euphoria, right?
So today AAP posted a letter to both BJP and congress, enumerating 18 points on which they must state their stand meanwhile asking for 10 days to decide on govt. formation. The question that begs to be asked is what is the purpose of creating this tamasha? Many argued that this is to “expose” BJP and congress alike but if you read the 18 issues raised by AAP, you will realize how lame they are except a few. And how most don’t even need a legislation or support of majority in the house.
(The credit for these rebuttals goes to Dr.Aditya Bharadwaj, my friend and one of the few saner voices on twitter. He goes by the name of @Adityadoc)
Point by point answer to all the questions of Shri Arvind Kejriwal.
1. No Red lights for MLA, Minister and officials
A: Already done by Supreme Court decision, it is for government to implement it in their state. Form a government and implement it. You don’t need legislative majority for it.
2. Jan Lokpal Bill
A: JAN LOK PAL bill will be passed by centre not state. States can only pass lokayukta bill. For which both bjp and congress have given their support.
3. Funds for local street development committee
A: Purely an executive decision, no need of support by any other party. You don’t need legislative majority for it.
4. Statehood for Delhi
A: Arvind is an IRS officer (?). He knows constitution very well. This matter falls in centre list and not state list. Some time back mayawati passed a resolution to divide UP in four parts, but did that mean anything? No. a pure gimmick.
5. Audit of power companies finances
A: Yes, do it. Who’s stopping you? No need of support from any party. You don’t need legislative majority for it.
6. Audit of electricity metres
A: Same again, no need of a new law. Just do it. You don’t need legislative majority for it.
7. Water issue- clean and free 700 litres. Issue of water wastage.
A: BJP and CONGRESS have already supported this cause. Form a government, improve monitoring of water pipelines. Accelerate laying of new ones.
8. Regularize colony.
A: No need of legislation. 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.
9. Houses for slums
A: Make houses under indira aawas yojna and distribute. Who needs a law? Mayawati build some in Lucknow.
10. Permanent jobs for contractual govt employee
A: Needs to be discussed and support of congress needed.
11. Liberalization of VAT for traders
A: Instead of this, GST (goods and services tax) needs to be implemented.
12. Discussion on FDI in Delhi
A: 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?
13. Ban Donations for Private School Admissions
A: Donations are already banned for admission. Just need strict implementation of the existing law.
14. Facilities for Villages in Delhi
A: Everyone needs it, and supports it. No need of legislation.
15. More Govt Hospital
A: Way to go!! But opening new hospitals needs no support. Right?
16. Fast track courts for atrocities against women (3-6 months period)
A: Already a provision in law. Just implement it.
17. Corruption in judiciary
A: Are you kidding me? What has a state govt. to do in this matter?
18. BJP support to purge corruption in MCD
A: Once you bring janlokpal, you can tackle it as well.
If you read the letter that is being touted as a master-stroke by ignorant supporters, you realise how lame it is. Ideally the response of AAP should have been something like this.
AAP- Will you support our version of Lokpal?
If yes- I, Arvind Kejriwal take oath as CM of Delhi.
If no- Re-election!
Question must be asked as to why is AAP core team now behaving so?
These are interesting times indeed, and I really wish AAP to do its best. They have forced the giants to consider honest politics as a threat and to mend their ways. But for AAP to maintain its own high ground, it is must that we learn to question them even though we may be supporting them. It is pertinent that we do it because the day we stop asking questions is the day they stop caring for their morality.
A word of advice:-
AAP has caught the imagination of the people in every nook and corner of the nation. They did it by channelizing the anger of public against the rotting system. And public anger is like fire. You can use it to burn opponents, but play too long with it, and all it takes is a spark to spill on to your own clothing.
- Dr Aditya Bharadwaj and Dr Archit Srivastava