You and your team have once again fired up the nation, leading to high expectations and aspirations across the country – which will hopefully soon lead to people demanding more accountability from their local governments. Now, let AAP ka work do all the talking.
Going forward, it should be less about (addictive) debates and more about reports…on what you planned for the people of Delhi, and what is the progress. That should also help reduce the debate. The electorate (and their families) are now looking to you for their daily deliverance.
It’s time to implement the Manifesto – the 70-Point Action Plan, in word and spirit. The people should preferably be told the AAP Plan for the first 6 months - on what you will do, how, where and by when; and who will decide, and who will do. There should then be a Monthly Report on each of the Manifesto points, and a Report by each Minister/Dept. Let media have copies of all important letters issued (e.g. for regularisation of colonies), and the replies. Why wait to be out-RTIed? By all means be populist, but not profligate – you cannot burden future generations. It would be prudent to implement the promise on water after a preliminary check on Ward-wise ‘official’ status, and after assigning a Ward-wise water tanker plan. This should not take more than a month. The ‘easier’ decision should be on power, given the drop in fuel prices. The reduction should be immediate, while books and meters are checked and rates re-negotiated with the utilities. If Swaraj can help AAP make the near-defunct Public Distribution System (PDS) and Primary Healthcare System (PHS) work, it would truly be a miracle. Do also look at petrol and/or school fee subsidy vouchers for the lower middle class; fortunately it is easy to identify such beneficiaries in Delhi. Citizens’ Security Forces in each Mohalla, and a Mahila Suraksha Dal, is a practical and wonderful idea. If these Forces can deter all forms of eve-teasing, day and night, in their localities and on the roads, we will see a change in behaviour very soon. It is also heartwarming to see that Social Justice and Dignity, especially for the under-privileged in the unorganised sector –like domestic workers and safia kararcharis – is in your Manifesto. Finally, it is most heartening to see that AAP would encourage honest officers and protect whistleblowers. Rather than only concentrating on punishing the guilty, it is most important to also recognise and support the ‘good guys’.
The first 6 months is also a good time to roll-out ‘models’ – like for public toilets and ‘pucca’ houses for the slum dwellers. Model sites in a few Wards could be identified and the projects planned and completed, within 6 months. These are also projects that would be best undertaken under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model. Yes, private enterprise needs to be an integral part of the AAP strategy. Private is not a dirty word and the Profit motive is not synonymous with corruption. Private enterprise can be most productively used for social work too. Do be careful of being caught up in mob protests; they can go out of hand and end up as endless blame games. People can be flimsy – and the media most so. It would be difficult to tell when the tide has changed – even experienced sailors and politicians have failed on this score. The best answer, for the people and critics alike, is to deliver corruption-free good governance – constantly and consistently. There will be time for a national play – well within 5 years – state-wise and nationally.
May the Tilak shine on Swaraj.
In the almost entire focus on basic civic services, you should not forget the future. It’s wonderful to see that you envision Delhi as a Solar City - with even consumers having an option to sell to the grid. Maybe a model ‘Sunny Ward’ could be chosen for a ‘fit-out’.
Do rethink your decision on ‘no FDI in Retail’ for Delhi. A modern Farm to Retail program will help remove middlemen and exploiters who are today exploiting farmers and also fuelling the food prices and inflation – a form of corruption that needs to vanish. It will also help reduce wastage. Protecting middlemen and traders, at the cost of the farmers and the public, cannot be your agenda - even if they are/were your vote bank.
While helping out the unauthorised colony reisdents of today, AAP must come down hard on any further occupation or construction in any unauthorised (current or new) area in any part of Delhi.
Regarding the support from the Municipal Corporations or the Centre, why bank on support for things that even the last Congress govt. did not receive for 15 years - and performed well for the most part? You cannot fight these issues on the basis that these were promises you made to Delhi voters. That is being unreal in real-politik.