In a recent survey conducted by News24 and ISOMES, approximately 5000 people were asked as to how they feel about Kejriwal’s rule and compared it with how Narendra Modi had fared. Incidentally, the people in question came from different sections of the society. The first question that was put to them was whether they were satisfied with the AAP’s rule. 55.5% people stated in the affirmative and the rest stated that they were not happy with how Kejriwal and his ministry have handled things. The second question that was put to them was who they think had performed better between Modi and Kejriwal.
45% of the people had said that Arvind Kejriwal had performed better than Modi and 38% had said that Modi had outdone the Delhi CM. 8% of the people had said that both the heads of India and Delhi were performing properly and 9% did not like what Modi or Kejriwal were doing. The third question that was asked of them was whether Kejriwal is a dictator or not. Incidentally, 60% of them felt that he was a dictator and the remainder of the people thought he worked in a democratic manner, trying to take others in confidence before he made any discussion.
The fourth question was regarding the present political situation in Delhi. 40% of the people said that Najeeb Jung, the Lieutenant Governor, was responsible for the situation. 27% people thought that the Indian administration was to be blamed for the situation. However, 33% of the people also held the Delhi CM responsible for the present situation that Delhi finds itself in. The less-than-amicable relationship between Modi and Kejriwal is well documented. This is why the fifth question was whether the Indian Government was trying to create obstacles in the way of the Delhi administration. 56% people said that the Indian Government created no problems for the Delhi government, while the rest thought that the AAP was indeed being impeded by NDA.
Advantages of the AAP Regime
The AAP is one party that keeps it promises to its electorate. 11 days after it came to power it brought about a 50% reduction in power tariff in case less than 400 units were being consumed in a month. The same amount of reduction has also been issued for water consumption of up to less than 20,000 litres a month. This decision has benefited almost 90% of the people. According to Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, the electricity tariff reduction will help 3,60,6428 families in the state and the free water benefit will help 18 lakh families in the state. However, people who are using up more than 400 units per month will have to pay the total bill that they are charged for. The case is same for electricity consumption as well. What further works for the AAP is that it is highly honest – as AAP people know what they will get. This transparency is rare in the present-day Indian political system.
Disadvantages of the AAP Regime
While Kejriwal has kept his promise to the people he has also cost the Delhi exchequer around INR 1670 crore in a year. In case of power subsidy the state government lost INR 70 crore in March 2015. In the 2015-16 fiscal the government will stand to lose INR 1427 crore in the 2015-16 fiscal. One also needs to take into consideration in this context the lack of political maturity in Kejriwal which led him to resign from the post of CM the last time around over his inability to pass the Ombudsman Bill within a time that he had promised. His resignation did not help matters and he needs to understand that in a political system like India people often prefer stability over progress.
Populism is a very dangerous habit to indulge in politics. More often than not this does not do any good in the long term. Kejriwal may have been able to promise a lot in basic facilities to his electorate but the question is how long he can keep it up. In a state like Delhi, where such facilities had been in short supply till date, there could not have been a sudden spurt in the aforementioned resources.
May be the AAP will keep up with this as long as it can. However, in the process he will be draining the state exchequer dry and sooner rather than later he will have to decide between imposing taxes to make up the loss and continuing with this and leaving the state in a complete economic mess. In the end it will damage beyond the repair the political credibility of Kejriwal and his party and when the next party comes in it will cancel all that is being done now and just revert to the old system. This will badly affect the people.
Maybe instead of providing free lunches to the people it would be better the CM focuses on how to empower them so that such short-term benefits do not have to be given in the first place. He needs to look at critical areas such as education and health, especially in the rural areas. Similarly more jobs have to be created so that people are able to live with a certain degree of respectability. If they are used to benefits being thrown their way just like that it will only reduce their urge to improve in life. By focusing on these areas and acting judiciously on them, he will leave the state in a little better health than when he inherited it and he would have also created a better legacy for himself.
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