Arvind Kejriwal partly fulfills some of his promises, but a long way ahead

As part of the promises made by the Aam Aadmi party, one can classify these promises into several parts:
– Move away from the high status that politicians typically assume once they are elected – high security, lavish government housing, and so on.
– Give relief to the population from the apparently high prices of essential supplies such as water and electricity
– Ensure that corruption is minimized (with the expectation that past deeds of corruption are prosecuted)

These were part of the overall set of promises made by the Aam Aadmi Party, and with very few attempting to go into detail (either from the AAP side or from the opposition – who anyhow did not believe that this new party without established politicians will come to anything in the election). Soon after the election, once the immediate shock had got over, both the Congress and the BJP were worried about what to do. The Congress played a gambit where they speculated that the AAP would stand by its stand of not taking support from the Congress, and were shocked when Kejriwal threw together a quick referendum and agreed to take the support of the Congress while steadily claiming that this was not an alliance.
Part 1 of the shock was already achieved; well, how about challenging them on the seemingly impossible goal of reducing water and power prices; which Sheila Dixit had always laughed off or kept a confused stand with the involvement of private companies and independent regulator. So, what did the AAP do ? In a couple of days, it could not transform either the power companies or the meters or the electricity and water distribution system, but what it could do was to announce a reduction of rates, and it did so while also trying to ensure that the message would go out that this was an interim measure till the Government was able to do more reform of the power and water sector.
This reduction of rates has shocked both the Congress and the BJP, as well as a large number of analysts. The reviews and questions that I have seen (and the amount of queries on social media) is incredible, one would think that they have burned the finances of the Government wholesale. The Congress latched onto the non-availability of water connection in many areas of the city and why the AAP had not done something about it, and this was a self-defeating argument since the obvious question for the Congress would be as to why they did not ensure the water pipeline network in the 15 years that they were ruling. Anyhow, the supposed difference here was the AAP had made it clear right from the beginning that they considered water as essential, and together with electricity, the rates had been shooting up causing huge economic harm to the budgets of a normal family. From the feedback that was coming in, you would have thought that every other Government in the country was pure, not offering a Rupee of subsidy for anything. So mega schemes such as Food Security Bill, Fertilizer subsidy, Rice at Re 1/2 were all fine, but if the AAP gave some subsidy for water and electricity, the entire world would come crumbling down.
So far there has not been too much of a talk about anti-corruption measures other than the promise of having a Jan Lokpal Bill being promised, but there are promises about stuff such as getting power companies audited by the CAG, about getting electricity meters checked out, about ensuring that water pipelines are laid and the water tanker mafia is controlled. All of these sound good, but there is a lot more that needs to be done, and it is very easy to quickly go downhill.
There are a lot of expectations from the AAP Government about both ensuring that ongoing corruption is reduced, as well as detecting and prosecuting the corruption that has happened. If the Government is unable to meet these expectations or is seen as becoming another copy of the existing political parties, then the charm around the party will vanish and it will become a wonder than lasted for a few months or a year. The party will have to do a lot of focus on ensuring that its legislators and members remain down to earth, which means that members of other parties joining it for a stab at power need to be evaluated to ensure that the first day example of a former Congressman who was peeved over not being a minister does not happen again. However, given that expectations from political parties are so low, the AAP Government just needs to ensure that it remains dedicated to the premise of being simple, connected to the citizens and ensuring that there is more transparency in the system, and it is bound to increase its base much more than the other parties can even fear about.
If one were to draw a list of the expectations from the AAP, these would be some of them:
– Ensuring that corruption that people meet on an everyday basis is reduced – municipality forms and documentation / certificates, police interaction, and numerous other Government interactions
– A citizens services charter that is followed sincerely, where the Government has to respond to the needs of citizens within a specific time frame
– Making the police a friendly and efficient force rather than one seen as an occupying force which is heavily corrupt
– Increase in rates of services such as power and water is reduced and the whole process is transparent
– Municipal workers are seen to be working – maintenance of parks and roads, cleaning of rubbish, getting repairs done on time, etc
– The list is incredible and can go on, but if the AAP is able to show progress on the first 3, then itself people will line up to vote for it and bring it back to power. A simple way of course is to set up a reverse system whereby volunteers and members from each area provide an evaluation of the performance of the ministers and legislators.

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