Will AAP’s Success in Addressing People’s Issues in Delhi Be a Template for Large Cities?
Delhi’s maverick chief minister Arvind Kejriwal delivered another landslide victory to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in one of the nastiest poll battles in India. The Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) had tried to give the election a national colour by getting its top leaders and chief ministers to throw their might behind a venomous and divisive campaign. And yet, it suffered a crushing defeat, made more pitiful by its leaders who touted a 6% increase in vote share and five more seats that took its tally to just eight. 
 
Arvind Kejriwal correctly attributes AAP’s victors to the ‘kaam’ or work done by his government’s work in the past five years. But the true genius of his campaign, probably crafted by ace political strategist Prashant Kishor, was to keep people focussed on the AAP’s performance while opting for the middle ground or silence on religion, Citizens’ Amendment Act and National Population Register.
 
 
In the process, AAP proved what seems like common sense but what politicians refuse to see: people will reward good work, especially done against all odds. It has undoubtedly been a tough five years. Less than a year ago, News18 had reported how 140 cases have been filed against AAP MLAs (members of the legislative assembly) and members and 13 of its 67 members had been arrested at one time or the other. 
 
In the long run up to the election, AAP changed tactics, closed out defamation cases (often with an apology), dropped its aggressive confrontation with the Central government and focused on showcasing the amazing work done at its mohalla clinics and in municipal schools, while continuing its subsidies on water, electricity and more recently in public transport for women.
 
 
Importantly, while offering freebies, the Delhi government actually ran a surplus budget, which has doubled from Rs30,940 crore in 2014-15 to Rs60,000 crore in 2019-20, with a steady increase in revenues even while Central allocation declined.  
 
 
Clearly, the people of Delhi did not lose sight of this performance and refused to be swayed by other considerations. Economic reforms and good governance was the main slogan of BJP as it swept to victory in the 2014 general elections. By 2019, it had inflicted a lot of pain on its citizens (Aadhhar, demonetisation, Goods and Services Tax) instead of delivering on its promises and so it had to come up with a last-minute trick of a surgical strike at Balakot to sway swayed voters with 'recency effect'. 
 
But vote-getting slogans like Ram Mandir, Kashmir and Article 370 have already been played out, while the constant fanning of fears about Pakistan is beginning to grate at a time when the ‘muscular’ nationalist government has no answers for the economic slowdown and lack of jobs. 
 
Since Arvind Kejriwal started out as a committed activist, there is excitement among activists about whether a pincer focus on local issues could see some transformation at municipal levels elsewhere in the country. 
 
 
For instance, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the richest civic body in India, recently presented budget for 2019-20 at Rs33,441 crore. This is bigger than the Delhi state budget in 2014-15 when AAP took charge of the capital state. Fortunately, Mumbai has a surplus budget and hefty reserves of over Rs78,000 crore. 
 
This makes it all the more surprising that the Corporation is riddled with corruption and rent-seeking, unable to cope with crumbling civic infrastructure that was left untouched, even as the city remained mute to the successive state governments extracting every last penny of wealth from its expensive real estate. 
 
Over the years, the state has denuded the city through the exploitation of mill lands in the name of development, its roads are clogged with illegal hawkers and business blessed by rent-seeking officials and infrastructure contracts are repeatedly given out to ‘tainted contractors’, despite allegations of corruption. 
 
The same would apply to other major cities such as Bengaluru, Chennai and Pune. Can a sharp focus on local issues catalyse more civic activism and thereby transform India?
 
We invite your thoughts and comments. 
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    COMMENTS

    devanpv

    2 weeks ago

    hope this trigger some initiatives from other part of the country. if corruption level can bring down 50% it can be used for viscible developments and people will reward the good it is is common sense

    Meenal Mamdani

    2 weeks ago

    The attitude that it is not my problem, the govt should fix it, must change.
    Had MLFoundation just kept on pointing fingers and not backed it up with stellar investigations, the impressive cleanup that is happening in the financial sector would not have happened.
    Either the people become RTI activists and keep uncovering frauds that the govt then has to clean up.
    Or the people set up activist NGOs like MLFoundation with their yearly membership money to do investigation of specific issues.
    We have so many retired officials who have the knowledge of the workings of bureaucracy. They could guide such organizations.
    India has had a lot of do-gooding NGOs till now. The need of the hour is NGOs focused on governance in different areas, like road traffic, sanitation, schools, you name it.
    Indians have to either spend their sweat or money to improve society, just asking the govt (which is the cause of the problem in some cases) to do its job is not enough.

    CIA spied on India, Pak, others through secretly-owned Swiss firm: Washington Post
    More than 100 countries across the world including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh bought Swiss encryption equipment without suspecting that foreign spies, including CIA agents, would have access to their secrets, The Washington Post reported.
     
    The Swiss company that global governments trusted with their most sensitive of conversations for more than fifty years was actually owned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in partnership with the West German BND intelligence service, according to an investigation based on CIA documents obtained by The Washington Post.
     
    The company, Crypto AG, entered into a deal with CIA in 1951 and came under its ownership in the 1970s. 
     
    For more than half a century, governments across the globe trusted the Swiss firm to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and more secrets. 
     
    According to the report, from 1970 the CIA and the National Security Agency together with their German partners controlled nearly every aspect of the company's operations, including hiring decisions, designing its technology. 
     
    "America's main adversaries, including the Soviet Union and China, were never Crypto customers. Their well-founded suspicions of the company's ties to the West shielded them from exposure, although the CIA history suggests that US spies learned a great deal by monitoring other countries' interactions with Moscow and Beijing," said the report this week. 
     
    The Washington Post got access to internal CIA accounts of the intelligence operation known as Rubicon. 
     
    According to the CIA report quoted by the report, Rubicon was the "intelligence coup of the century."
     
    "It was the intelligence coup of the century. Foreign governments were paying good money to the US and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two (and possibly as many as five or six) foreign countries," the CIA report reads, according to the Post.
     
    Additionally, US and Germany were not only the beneficiaries of the spying operation. 
     
    "The records show that at least four countries -- Israel, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom -- were aware of the operation or were provided intelligence from it by the United States or West Germany," the report noted.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    m.prabhu.shankar

    1 week ago

    Becoming Indigenous in every technology is the key for our success

    Meenal Mamdani

    2 weeks ago

    No wonder US is warning every one against Huawei, the Chinese company. Having done stealth operations themselves, they are in a position to know.

    raeesrajpoot76

    2 weeks ago

    ABSOLUTELY UNTRUSTWORTHY RASCALLS.

    Several ex-cricketers could be in trouble as top bookie Chawla extradited from London
    Several Indian cricket stars of yesteryears could be in trouble as Delhi Police extradites Sanjeev Chawla, the alleged mastermind of match-fixing case involving former South African captain late Hansie Cronje, from London on Thursday.
     
    Chawla, a British national as per Delhi Police charge sheet, absconding hitherto in the match fixing case, was linked with several international cricketers, including Indian players, sources in the crime branch of the Delhi Police revealed.
     
    Dossier prepared on Sanjeev Chawla by Crime Branch reveals that several Indian cricketers were frequenting his bungalow, 4, Monk Ville Avenue, London and their phone numbers figured on Chawla's phone list in Call Data Records (CDRs) recovered by police for the period of January to March 2000.
     
    It was during period this period (February-March 2000) when conspiracy to fix matches was unearthed during India-South Africa series played in India. "As Chawla had slipped to London, he could not be interrogated and subsequently the CDRs connecting the then Indian cricketers with the global bookie was not pursued," a former commissioner of Delhi police told IANS.
     
    Crime Branch has also gathered documents from Scotland Yard, whose sleuths arrested Chawla in 2001 in another betting scandal involving English players. On the basis of a statement of former England all rounder Chris Lewis who alleged that Chawla had offered bribe to the then England Captain Alec Stewart to under perform in matches, the Scotland Yard questioned Chawla and a prominent Indian sports promoter.
     
    During investigation it was revealed that several players from India, Pakistan, West Indies and South Africa were in touch with Chawla and many visited bookie's restaurant, East is East, located at 230, Commercial Road London EI 2NB.
     
    Regarding Chawla's relations with Dubai based betting syndicates, former Delhi police commissioner Ajay Raj Sharma said a UAE number, used by a member of the underworld was initially traced by the Delhi police, however Chawla's links with underworld will be probed once he is interrogated in police custody.
     
    The Delhi police charge sheet reveals that phone number of Krishna Kumar (of T-Series music group) one of the associates of Sanjeev Chawla, was directly linked with a phone number of Saheen Haithley, an alleged member of underworld operating from Dubai in early 2000.
     
    " I am eagerly awaiting the outcome of questioning of Chawla, the mastermind of match-fixing case who paid huge amounts to several cricketers to change results of important international matches. His interrogation will unravel more scandals of the past," said Ajay Raj Sharma, former IPS officer who headed Delhi Police when match-fixing case rocked the cricketing fraternity across the globe.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    raeesrajpoot76

    2 weeks ago

    šŸ˜€ DELHI POLICE, GREAT JOB.

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