AAP has promised to change the rules of Indian politics, but experts feel the party will face stiff resistance from vested interests
New Delhi : Arvind Kejriwal, the Aam Aadmi Party leader has promised to change the rules of the political game and transform the relationship between government and the people.
Will AAP herald a new style of governance? Analysts say the party is unlikely to find the going easy due to likely resistance from vested interests and disinclination for change in the entrenched bureaucracy.
Kejriwal has said that the AAP wants to tackle ‘VIP culture’ and no MLA, minister or officer in Delhi should put a red beacon light on their vehicle, stay in a big bungalow and accept special security. He has also proposed that the MLA fund and the councillor fund should end and the money given straight to ‘mohalla sabhas (neigbhourhood assemblies)’ so that people can decide where and how to spend government money. The AAP has talked of setting up a ‘mohalla sabha secretariat’ to issue birth, death, caste and income certificates.
The party has promised to improve standards of education in government schools and open at least 500 new schools. It has assured of opening new government hospitals to bring Delhi at par with the “international norm of five beds for 1,000 people. The party has also promised to create a ‘citizen’s security force with a branch in each ward’ to improve security for women.
The party manifesto adds that proceedings in all court cases would be video-recorded and made available to ordinary citizens. The AAP also plans to end contract jobs and go in for “regularisation of all government and private jobs”. It has also promised to reduce power expenses of consumers by 50% and provide 700 litres of water per day to households.
Kejriwal’s avowed thrust on fighting corruption put paid to any scope of horse trading in a hung Delhi assembly. And, in a break with political traditions of the past, the AAP took the unprecedented decision to form a government by holding wide consultations with the people who voted it to power.
Political commentator S Nihal Singh said that AAP could resort to symbolism like its ministers walking to offices but people would judge it by the quality of its administration. He said the party cannot afford to go to the people every time and seek their views on the problems its government will face.
“Symbolism is one thing and administration is another. You have to have a pragmatic way to govern. I see a lot of confusion ahead”, Nihal Singh said. Aditya Mukherjee, professor of contemporary Indian history at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said that AAP would battle structural constraints in fulfilling its promises and there could be ‘blame game’ in case of delays.
“They (AAP leaders) may be able to convince people (about their promises) in the next six months and create an atmosphere favourable to them for the Lok Sabha elections, but I don’t think they have a concrete roadmap,” Mukherjee said.