By Yashwant Deshmukh
On 14 February 2014, he came in hot with a promise to realise all the unfulfilled dreams of his millions of fans and to deliver his subjects from all hardships. This was the second coming for Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in the pedestal of power in Delhi as its chief minister. And a year on, the flame of his fame glows on unparalleled but what has definitely taken a hit is his idea of a Utopian Delhi.
It's the stink that has certainly dented the image of the Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi. When we say stink, it is the most recent strike by MCD workers that kept the National Capital trash-filled, air polluted with pungent smells and burgeoning garbage heaps spilling on to the streets that made an eyesore.
A Firstpost/CVoter exclusive that conducted a survey among 5,526 voters from Delhi Tracker Panel in the last two weeks and then compared it with its Annual Tracker of 8,107 Delhi voters in last 12 months to prepare the First Year Report Card for the Arvind Kejriwal government. The stink has put a blemish on the Kejriwal government as the survey found that "90 percent Delhites agree that the political tussle between the state government and Centre has ruined Delhi."
A whopping 77.1 percent of the BJP supporters blamed the AAP government in Delhi for letting the National Capital to be awash in trash, while 29.4 percent of the surveyed AAP supporter base held the Centre responsible and another 49.7 percent of them put the onus on the BJP-run MCD respectively.
There is little doubt that not many are impressed by this infectious blame-game between the state government and the Centre that has diverted precious energy and time from actual governance into trivial protocol issues. Although it would be injustice to not give due credit to the Kejriwal-led government including his war on corruption, there is an increasing sense among the public that the blame game has become a potent weapon to hide one's own shortcomings at all levels — MCD, state and the Central governments.
"While AAP and Congress voters are blaming the Centre, the Congress and BJP voters are blaming the state government. Interesting all three — AAP, Congress and BJP voters are upset with MCD. That should send distress signal to the saffron camp," the survey said.
There is an increasing belief among the AAP and Congress voters that the Centre is needlessly interfering too much with the day-to-day functioning of the state government. A 79.3 percent of AAP supporters and 56.1 percent of the Congress voters respectively are of the opinion that Centre is trying to trip the Kejriwal-government on every possible opportunity. However, 79.9 percent of the BJP supporters disagree that the Centre is meddling with the affairs of the Delhi government.
There is also another side to this blame game saga. In the following table as you can see, 62.7 percent of Congress supporters and 84.6 percent of BJP voters respectively have blamed the AAP government for putting the onus on the Centre for everything. This find, as expected, has been negated by 68.6 percent of the AAP voters.
Despite being at loggerheads with the Centre for most part of the year, Kejriwal has managed to keep his personal ratings high throughout the year. A total of 54.7 percent of the respondents have given a thumbs up to Kejriwal, and within it 95.4 percent are AAP supporters. Among the surveyed, 61.3 percent and 78.2 percent of the Congress and BJP respectively did not express happiness with Kejriwal's performance, the Firstpost/CVoter survey said.
He also turned out to be the most preferred chief minister as a total of 46.1 percent respondents vouched for him. While 17.2 percent wanted an unknown face as the chief minister, 17 percent of them would love to see BJP leader and Union Minister Harshvardhan as the chief minister.
That Kejriwal's charm still works is the testimony to the fact that AAP can still win the polls if they are held today. The Firstpost/CVoter survey found that "at no point of time the popularity of party has gone down among its supporters in Delhi." The party has been constantly maintaining a lead of 15 percent over the BJP in all polls. The BJP seems to have struck at the core vote share of about 33 percent while the Congress recorded a minor improvement but "still not crossing the psychologically important threshold of 20 percent votes", the study said.
A total of 59.2 percent of the sample are happy with the performance of the Delhi government, of course, this includes 95.8 percent of the AAP supporters. Among the respondents 49.2 percent of Congress supporters and 71.8 percent of BJP voters did not give a cheer to the Delhi state government.
The debate whether Delhi should be given full statehood or not has been one of the most gripping one in the last one year. The survey finds that the Delhi voters are unhappy with the split-governance in the “Half-State”. An overwhelming majority of more than 80 percent voters support this idea including supporters from Congress, BJP and AAP. The BJP supporters however are not comfortable with the idea of Delhi Police being under the control of the state government, the survey finds.
Anger against the Delhi government is at its minimal now. But with a bunch of incompetent MLAs spoiling the broth, Kejriwal should be careful in not allowing this anger snowball into a mammoth case of anti-incumbency.