The Bold Voice of J&K

Kejriwal disappoints Delhi yet again

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Kalyani Shankar 

What is common between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal? Apart from developing a personality cult, both men came to power promising the moon. Both are in complete control of their parties and governments. Both are struggling to fulfil huge expectations. While Modi came with the slogan of Achche Din, Kejriwal came with the slogan of Paanch Saal Kejriwal. Judging the Modi Government in one year or Kejriwal’s rule in 100 days may not be fair, as they have been elected for a full five-year term, but both are under scrutiny.
Kejriwal took oath on Valentine’s Day, and if anyone expected the honeymoon to last for at least six months, they were bound to be disappointed. The Aam Aadmi Party’s earlier stint was marked by sit-ins, conflicts with public utility authorities and an ugly power struggle with the Centre. From day one in his current term, Kejriwal has been surrounded by controversies, party infighting, personal health problems, and a public spat with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and the Centre. The mandate of the AAP was good governance – not drama and political confrontation.
What has the AAP achieved in the past 100 days? Efforts have been made to meet some election promises. Mr Kejriwal has set up a Delhi Dialogue Commission. Earlier, to mark the completion of 50 days in power, he revived the 1031 helpline number to tackle corruption. Eleven days after forming the Government, Kejriwal delivered the big-ticket election promise of cheap water and power. He opened the making of Delhi Budget in 11 constituencies. The AAP has eased norms for e-rickshaws drivers, revised auto fares, amended the value added tax to help traders and given Rs50,000 as compensation to drought affected farmers -the highest ever by any Government in the country.
The AAP has also decided to form its own education board. It will revamp the Delhi School Education Act, 1973. It has successfully used the Essential Services Maintenance Act to deal with the Delhi Transport Corporation strike as well the agitation by Government doctors.
However, all of these achievements get overshadowed by some controversial actions. The Chief Minister has taken on almost every section of the political and governance establishment, like the the bureaucracy, the police, the media, the Union Government, the Delhi Municipal Corporations, the BJP, Congress and the Lt Governor. He has not spared dissidents in his own party. Kejriwal should realise that the art of governance is quite delicate and that he faces many challenges.
The first challenge is his dealing with the Centre. Is it going to be a long fight or will he give up his confrontational tactics? When Kejriwal took over as the Chief Minister, he had said that he would not take a confrontational path. Yet, the most noticeable thing in his first 100 days has been his tussle with Jung over the appointments, postings and transfers of senior IAS officers. Now, one of his MLAs wants to impeach the Lt Governor!
Mr Kejriwal’s second challenge is to get full statehood for Delhi. Delhi is more than a Union Territory but less than a full State. Previous Delhi Governments have been demanding full statehood, but going by the mood at the Centre, this may not happen soon.
The third challenge for Kejriwal comes from the summer months. It will be difficult for the AAP regime to meet the demand for water and power. Getting water from Haryana is going to be a big issue. The impending power tariff hike will check the government’s populist policies. The fund-shortage of civic agencies needs to be addressed too.
After winning with an overwhelming majority, the AAP Government needs to hit the ground running and fulfil its poll promises – many of them freebies. There are some basic promises in the AAP manifesto, like having 20 new colleges and 500 new government schools, building 2,00,000 public toilets, creating eight lakh jobs in the next five years, reducing pollution, regularising contractual posts, controlling price rise and so on. How will the AAP find the resources?

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