By Apurva Rai
Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal has now become the chief minister of Delhi for the third time in a row, though it will be his second full length term to serve the people of the national capital; first one being a short-lived tenure which led to re-elections and a record-breaking victory for the newest party foraying into Indian politics. Lucky man. It is not a mean task to rise above the rest and rule with a huge mandate in the national capital of Delhi; a city comprising people from all sections of society, different cultures and religions, varied age-groups, rich, poor, intellectuals, service class, business class, politicians, famous and not so famous to aam aadmi living a quiet life with his family.
You can influence one and impress some but cannot win everyone’s heart. Kejriwal did exactly the same. That is why he stands out amongst hordes of politicians in India who are fighting and struggling everyday to get into the seat of power somehow. Kejriwal stands out because he never showed greed for power under the guise of doing social work or talking development or made promises which cannot be fulfilled or drew the picture of a rosy life for the aam admi of Delhi. He proved that he is one among us and is in public life to serve the people and not to enjoy the privileges of power. It was his honesty of thoughts and spirit of struggle that touched the hearts of people and they voted him to victory with such a margin that even the most veteran politician can only dream of. No doubt, the thumping victory is ‘AAP’s Pride, Opposition’s Envy’.
What Makes Kejriwal a Winner
The thumping victory of the Aam Aadmi Party, led by Arvind Kejriwal has a lesson for other politicians, particularly the Congress which ruled the national capital for continuous 15 years from 1998 to 2013. The entire credit for three terms that the Congress completed goes to late chief minister Sheila Dikshit. The public mood saw a change as Kejriwal prepared himself to take on the bigger challenge with a few initial hiccups which were strong enough to shake, demoralise and diminish anyone else.
The activist from India Against Corruption was standing on the threshold of Indian politics with a determination to stay and prove that one need not be a veteran politician– a bundle of controversial statements, unabated comments, tall promises, false dreams, hate speeches and boring personality. In the muck that Indian politics is, Kejriwal emerged as a ‘lotus’ of hopes for crores of aam aadmi residing in Delhi. Everyone voted for him wholeheartedly and the rest is history now. Soon after the results were declared, Kejriwal lost no time in coming out and return public support by saying “Dilliwalon, gajab kar diya apne… I love you..” Delhi-ites were floored ! Wish Modi takes a lesson from him and reiterates the golden words for the public mandate he got in 2019.
What was the secret of Kejriwal’s success?
Honesty is the one word to describe him. The chief minister showed honesty of thoughts, honesty in his character, honesty in his words, honesty in his statements, honesty in his karma and presented an honest personality with clean image. Enough reasons for aam aadmi to judge him and elect him. After all the new age voters are wise, educated and decisive. People find him different from other netas and a cut above the rest in Indian politics which rarely sees a clean image.
Unlike other politicians Kejriwal never made hate speeches, never involved himself in mud-slinging and showed that he means business when he is in the seat of power. Indeed, a great lesson for all veteran politicians.
Kejriwal’s educational background and a successful career also had a positive impact on public minds. Except a few select fellow politicians, majority have not shown similar traits. The chief minister is blessed to be educated, intelligent and professionally successful. This is a great factor that leaders from other political party should learn and promote good talent to public domain. Modi Ji, do you understand this?
Many Challenges Ahead
The national capital of Delhi faces many problems. Now that Kejriwal has assumed office for the third term he faces a number of challenging tasks to make the lives of people of Delhi easier and comfortable.
There are talks of Smart City and all efforts are being made to make Delhi one of the smartest cities. I, however, think that while upgraded technology is imperative but a city becomes ‘smart’ when it provides ease of living, ease of numerous facilities like transportation, medical treatment, banking, shopping, dwelling, cleanliness, amusement, sports etc. The Second Opinion feels that one should ponder what makes New York or New Jersey different from New Delhi and you will get the answer in no time time.
Clean Yamuna: A daunting task is cleaning the Yamuna river in Delhi and giving the national capital a beautiful riverfront. Kejriwal seems determined to take this challenge head on. He has said that he will himself take a dip in the Yamuna which is full of filth. Delhi is a privileged city to have a river but the people of Delhi cannot enjoy a boat ride. Very sad, indeed. Hope to see clean waters flowing across Yamuna, people enjoying themselves at the riverfront and small boats giving joyrides to visitors.
If Kejriwal is successful in this mission he will be able to add one of the biggest attractions for tourists visiting Delhi beside earning good revenue for the exchequer and opening up new opportunities of livelihood for many.
Once Yamuna is cleaned and sufficient water level is gained, the AAP government may even consider boat services from Delhi to Agra. This will certainly come up as an alternative mode of transportation, fun ride and employment avenue.
Traffic Snarls: Move out on Delhi roads and you are confronted with long queues of motor vehicles that kill the joy of driving beside failing you on your calculations of reaching the destination. Very frustrating to drive a car in Delhi. This leads to road rage, burning of petrol, travel delays and air pollution.
The chief minister will have to restrict the entry of newer vehicles on the roads of Delhi and for this he will have to check corruption which lets free flow of black money in the society. While a lot of black money is spent in buying vehicles it is also ‘burnt’ in fuels because there is no check on its purchase.
* Restrict the number of cars a person can buy.
* New car can be purchased once in five years only.
* Levy parking charges on vehicles parked on public roads/ lanes
Slums of Delhi: Delhi often faces criticism for its slums. Political parties have taken undue advantage of these slums by influencing people living there. Spread in large areas these omnipresent slums also pose serious health problems and hygiene issues for its dwellers. It is also a difficult task for the administration to manage civic amenities in these colonies.
The chief minister can conduct a study to find out if regular township could be built in slum areas on the same piece of land. Thus people living here would be able to shift to multi-storey smaller EWS apartments, to be constructed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA). This will give them a better living, more security and improved hygiene in a planned society without dislocating them. This will save lot of land that is occupied by slum dwellers at present.
Pollution: Delhi is in the grip of severe pollution. Take a trip to the city and you will see people moving around with their faces covered with masks. A disheartening scenario ! Though the chief minister has promised to adopt measures to bring down the pollution level he will have to take drastic and harsh steps in this direction. Water, air and noise pollutions are certainly bane for any civilised society.
Kejriwal shot into limelight with his Odd-Even scheme of vehicles to control air pollution. Though he himself praises the scheme and counts its benefits it has, practically, not been beneficial at all. Implementing the scheme for mere 15 days cannot yield any result and that people of Delhi came out smarter. They bought different vehicles bearing odd and even numbers.
Solution: To my mind, it will be better to have similar scheme in a different way. No such vehicle to be allowed on road if the last number of registration number matches with the same date. This means if the number of vehicle is 1234 then it will not ply on road on 04th, 14th and 24the of the month. Now it is immaterial whether you have vehicle with odd number or even number because every vehicle will stay indoors at least three days in a month. And this not too much for asking.
Waste Management: Garbage is yet another major problem that is faced by metropolitan cities and Delhi is no exception. Kejriwal will have to encourage Waste Management Plants so that waste can be used in a more constructive way. Utilising plastic is a bigger challenge in this direction and we can take case studies from developed countries on this issue.
Flooding of roads: Come monsoon and the Delhi roads are deluged in rainwater. The phenomenon repeats itself every year, lots of breaking news on TV channels puts the administration to shame but the whole episode is forgotten as soon as the rains are over. The chief minister will have to look into the issue of rainwater, see how to utilise it and cleaning of the drains.
Suggestion: Would it be possible to recharge fast depleting underground water table with rainwater? Are we well utilising the rainwater that the streets of Delhi receive in huge quantity regularly every year?
Public Libraries/Museums: A city earns reputation with quality education and amusement facilities it offers to the public. While the AAP government has many claims in improving the education in government schools it has yet to a come up with a couple of decent public libraries. Who can better understand the importance of a library than Kejriwal himself who himself is an alumni of IIT and successfully cracked civil services examination!
Delhi organises book fairs regularly which are visited by millions of admirers. This shows that how much ‘book hungry’ the people of Delhi are ! One would like to see the Delhi government coming up with public libraries, no matter if they offer paid membership.
Similarly the Delhi government should also plan a grand museum in the national capital. This will make the city an international destination, provide amusement facility to people and bring revenues to the government.
Kejriwal, A Challenger
It is easy to expect from the chief minister who has proved to the people that he is in office just for one cause– bring about positive changes in the administration, public life and cleaner politics. Kejriwal has given wings to the people’s expectations without any greed or discrimination. This makes him a bigger challenger to other veterans as people have started seeing him as a role model now.
Indian politics has seen a revolution of sorts in the last few years when Narendra Modi emerged as the messiah of hopes and aspirations of people. Modi got huge mandate as he came with heart winning speeches and real-life promises. While the entire country was in the grip of ‘Modi Wave’ here comes another challenger whose name is Arvind Kejriwal. Modi made a magical effect in Indian politics but Kejriwal has set a new benchmark for all other politicians who dream big.
We have seen Modi-Kejriwal tussle in the past but as of now we hope to get the best from Modi at national level and Kejriwal at state level. Both the leaders are like a ‘soldiers in offices’– people sleep with peace in their homes while they work.