With the stage set for the Delhi Assembly elections and poll dates likely to be announced soon, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) sounded the poll bugle. On Tuesday, Chief Minister and party chief Arvind Kejriwal released a five-year report card of the Delhi government, three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally hailed the Centre’s move to grant ownership rights to 40 lakh persons living in unauthorised colonies in the national capital.
It is now clear that while the BJP will march into the Delhi Assembly elections with a narrative centered on the scheme to grant ownership rights to the residents of unauthorised colonies, the AAP will take on the saffron party with its accomplishments in the capital in the last five years. Both the claims will make the battle an intriguing one in the absence of a third contender for power.
The BJP, desperately seeking to expand its voter base from the middle income group to the lower income groups, has thrown a formidable challenge for the AAP by announcing the house ownership scheme. On the other hand, in the report card published on Tuesday, the AAP was seen desperately trying to retain its voter base in the unauthorised colonies.
Hitting out at the house ownership scheme, Kejriwal said that it is easy to talk about unauthorised colonies, but difficult to work there. He criticised the BJP and Congress for seeking votes in return for the promise to regularise unauthorised colonies before AAP came into power and turning their backs on the people on getting elected.
“But we changed the laws related to ensure development work is done in unauthorised colonies. We have spent Rs 8,000 crores for the development of these colonies. Out of 1,797 such colonies, 1,281 now have roads, 1,130 have sewers and 1,554 have water supply pipes,” Kejriwal said during the release of the Delhi government’s report card.
Interestingly, the residents of unauthorised colonies and slum dwellers form a big chunk of the AAP’s voter base. If the Centre’s fulfilment of the age-old demand of granting ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies swings votes in the favour of the BJP, AAP may find itself in the losing ground.
The electoral plank of the AAP, which is based on its government’s achievements, mostly revolves around bettering the lives of the poor and the lower income groups. But, the report card published on Tuesday claimed success in 10 major sectors, namely education, health, power, water supply, state finance, women’s safety, public transport, doorstep delivery and wi-fi connectivity.
In the education sector the party’s report card mentions the drastic increase in the budgetary allocation from Rs 6,600 crores a year to Rs 15,600 crores a year in the AAP regime. “Post-independence, roughly 17,000 classrooms were built in Delhi schools in 70 years. But we built 20,000 classrooms in five years,” he claimed challenging both the Congress and the BJP.
Kejriwal also announced that in the last three years, government schools in Delhi have performed better than private schools, adding that any child in Delhi, whether rich or poor, can get good education in government schools.
Women’s safety is another issue which found major emphasis in the report card and the Delhi Chief Minister said, “Nothing matters more for us than the safety of our mothers and sisters. We are equipping the city with 2,80,000 CCTV cameras to ensure their safety and also have rolled out fa ree bus ride scheme for female passengers in city buses.”
The 400 mohalla clinics opened across the city and free healthcare provided by Delhi government hospitals are also likely to be the electoral planks in the upcoming polls. According to the report card, dengue deaths in the capital too have come down to zero during the AAP’s tenure.
Similarly, 24 hours power supply, free power up to 200 units and increase of piped water supply from 58 percent to 93 percent, free water supply scheme up to 20,000 litres per family every month, increase of minimum wages from Rs 8,632 a month to Rs 14,892 a month and increase of the state budget from Rs 31,000 crore to Rs 60,000 crore are also claimed as major achievements in the report card.
The report card also mentions the addition of 4,300 new buses in the public transport system, increase of the Delhi Metro route from 173 kilometres to 289 kilometres and the scheme of providing doorstep delivery of government services apart from free Wi-Fi service in public spaces as the government’s major achievements.
A top AAP functionary told Firstpost that it is not competing with the Centre, when asked about the competition between the BJP’s promise of giving ownership rights to residents of unauthorised colonies and the schemes and freebies rolled out by the Delhi government. “Both the central government and the state government work together to make lives easier for the people,” the AAP functionary said.
Here is the Delhi government report card released by AAP:
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Updated Date: Dec 25, 2019 13:12:43 IST