Saturday, February 1, 2014

'Red' Face of Arvind Kejriwal

When Gopal Krishna Gokhale said "What Bengal thinks today India thinks tomorrow" he had AAP in mind. Delhi and West Bengal are locking their horns to take each other's idiosyncrasies. Delhi is hell bent to become Bengal while Bengal always wanted its pride of having the capital - Rape capital, if not capital. Let’s see some core policies of AAP.

Fight against Corruption:- The loudest noise on the streets of Delhi today is the silence of Kejriwal on Shiela Dixit. Justice Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party has come out with a list of corrupt politicians which includes names like Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi et al. The certificate distributing university of AAP didn’t include Shiela Dixit’s name, who was indicted by Shunglu Committee which investigated the CWG scam. Furthermore, the 370 pages proof which Justice Kejriwal himself had submitted to the Police before Delhi election was not enough for Mrs. Dixit to make the elite list. It’s only a matter of time when in Delhi Courts, the white statue of blindfolded Lady Justice holding a weighing scale and a sword will be replaced by the statue of Justice Kejriwal, wearing AAP cap and holding broom in both the hands. Within one month Delhi has been declared corruption free but Kejriwal doesn't have any legitimate evidentiary support to back his assertion rendering it incongruous.

Mohalla Sabhas :- There is little difference between Mohalla Sabha/Area Unions and Trade Union of Bengal or Khap Panchayat of Haryana. All are known for its vigilante justice. Mohalla Sabha is an organization of unelected mobs who are supposed to do bear the torch of doing justice without being held responsible or accountable. It leads to chaos culminating in dangerous and brutal society. What happened in Birbhum gang rape case? A 20 year old girl was brutally gang raped by 13 men on orders of Panchayat as punishment. Delhi health minister, Satyendra Jain dismissed the existing hospital management societies, the Rogi Kalyan Samitis, and that Aam Aadmi Party volunteers, with their trademark caps, were conducting inspections and helping out with administration in government hospitals, apparently without formal orders.

Look at the incident of Somnath Bharti's vigilante style raid on African nationals at Khirki extention. Delhi has always been xenophobic and even considers people of North East India as intruders (ban on the word Chinki by SC). May be few Africans were involved in sex/drug racket but arresting women(without warrants) at night and branding the whole African community as nuisance creator is obnoxious. Recently, an Arunachal Pradesh student (son of Congress MLA of Assam) was beaten to death by a mob in South Delhi, in an alleged racist attack. This directionless enthusiasm will create a fear among expats and migrants hurting the image of India globally. Governance is certainly not a de rigueur for AAP but dharna which holds a state to ransom, is its birth right. With mindless dharna can anyone have his way? Aren't we setting a dangerous precedent? The latest AAP theatrics had carried an immense security risk around Republic Day but thanks to law of diminishing returns, faced by hamletian dilemma- To Hold or Not to Hold, Kejriwal called off his dharna asserting false victory in front of media shutterbugs which provides oxygen to AAP.

Subsidy: - Subsidy is justified to be an effective instrument policy when it promotes not only equality but also growth. AAP’s water subsidy fails on both fronts. The intelligent acrobats had announced subsidy of 666 liters of free water a day to households who have meters but no free water for a large chunk of households(generally poor) who don’t have meters. Secondly, for a 3 member family 666 liters of water per day is more than enough and to believe basic human nature, anything free will be over consumed and wasted. But for a family of say 8-10 people, 666 liters of water won’t suffice and the said family ends up consuming less and paying more as any usage beyond 666 liters shall be charged. This decision was obviously political opportunism than sound ratiocination. AAP had made many false promises which they need to fulfill by hook or by crook. They never had any policies hence took succor in easiest way of governance –providing subsidy. Swaminathan Aiyar, a known critic of Narendra Modi, had showered encomium on Modi for solving water problems (Read here and here) in Gujarat which is a drought prone state, with 70% of its area classified as semi-arid and arid. Moreover, AAP promised to cut the power bill by 50%. The rationale provided by Kejriwal for increase in power tariffs was corruption in power companies. Instead of eliminating corruption, he took the easiest route and provided power subsidy. Isn't this self contradictory? Well hypocrisy is supposedly post-colonial. Shouldn't he had waited for audit of power companies to complete instead of burdening the exchequer?

Until now Kejriwal has been judged by prism of his good intention. But however a good intention may be, a bad idea is a bad idea. For example, if management of private corporations implements a bad policy, the company goes bankrupt and its shareholders take a hit. In case of public policy, if government implements a bad idea then the taxpayer bears the brunt. In both cases, the role of intention is redundant. Time and again Kejriwal has taken stands only to relent. AAP’s popularity is rapidly fading among middle class voters and is left with support base of only urban poor – auto rickshaw drivers, daily wage laborers et al. The much celebrated celebrities (Meera Sanyal, V. Balakrishnan ,Gopinath, Mallika Sarabhai) who joined AAP with media fanfare have either hibernated themselves or openly critical of the party’s functioning.

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