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Delhi’s Election Dilemma: Debate vs Mandate

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Delhi assembly elections 2015
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by Aditya Bhaskara

Delhi assembly elections 2015

The voting day just three days far from now, politics in Delhi has suddenly become awkward and some parties are quite remote from addressing the real issues that impact the people. The article strives to join the missing pieces as the political arguments go trending on social media platforms.

Image Credit: Darryn van der Walt

A spate of accusations over the two crores of donations received by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rocked the political scene in the Indian capital for more than a day. From PM Narender Modi to finance minister Arun Jaitley to former AAP leader Shazia Ilmi to various other politicians, everyone tried to make a heads and tails of it without much factual accuracy. The incident was reported by Avam, an outfit formed by former party volunteers. In recent development Congress suspects what Avam did might just be a conniving move constructed by the BJP.

The immediate question amid all this is whether the parties have forgotten to address the real issues of the people of Delhi during the last part of the whole election campaign? All the political parties might like to remember that whenever the engagement of the public is more as an onlooker and less as a participant, the votes go further down.

As the political buzz on Twitter shifts toward the hashtag #DelhiFightClub, bringing to context a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an independent electoral watchdog, would provide some vital insights about how clean the image of the national parties actually is. On December 15, last year ADR published a press release backed by its interesting report. In its memorandum to Special Investigation Team (SIT) chaired by Honorable Mr. Justice M B Shah, it requested for ‘strict regulation of political party funding and expenditure’. It argued that the check on the flow of black money cannot be complete unless the money used for electoral and political processes is thoroughly accounted for.

An analysis on the IT Returns filed by the National Parties shows a whopping 72.98 percent of total income came from undisclosed sources. Parties also tend to forget to file or delay their Election Expenditure statements. A simple and shrewd way to keep the sources unknown is to show the voluntary contribution as less than ₹ 20,000, which eliminates any legal obligation to disclose the details.

Most of the guidelines related to declaration of income and assets are ignored by the politicians and parties. Just about two years back, Congress and BJP were found guilty of accepting foreign donations as per the Delhi High court petition in WP(C) No. 131 of 2013; Association of Democratic Reforms & another vs. Union of India]. This revelation takes away a lot of credibility of the accusation made on AAP by the parties or politicians who themselves have to come clear.

Although there are just three days to the Delhi Assembly elections, the people have a lot to think about before they vote the candidates to power. A government is a liability to the people if chosen without much thought. Probably this time Delhi would get it right.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Let’s start with a clean slate? Pehle AAP!

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Delhi Elections 2015 and AAP

by Harshmeet Singh

Aam Aadmi Party’s landslide win is an indication of sorts that the people of Delhi have risen above the politics of caste, community, religion among several other things. The write-up aims to observe the expectations and transition of the soon-coming-to-power government.

Subhash is having trouble holding back his smile. A resident of Delhi’s Patel Nagar area, he grins every time the TV screen flashes the trends in the ongoing vote count of the Delhi assembly elections. He was never prouder of his vote. Amazingly, he is not alone. Millions of Delhities who preferred keeping a ‘safe distance’ from politics are cheering for the Aam Aadmi Party. For the two year old party, pulling the common man into politics and charging up his emotions is a much bigger achievement than the landslide victory in Delhi that it is headed towards.

Where do we head from here? Delhi would finally have a Chief Minister. A Chief Minister who, by the admissions of his own party leaders, would come with a fevicol to remain stuck on his seat for the next five years. A number of experts have remarked that the Arvind Kejriwal has mellowed down considerably as compared to his last tenure as the CM during which he launched a dharna against the Central Government and slept on the streets on a couple of chilly January nights. Having said that, it won’t do justice to AAP if people start expecting overnight results such as clean air in Delhi or a Police department that has Singham to solve the cases or even a Yamuna clean enough to see your reflection. Perhaps that is why the constitution lays down a tenure of five years for the Government, and not a couple of months.

If there is a lesson in AAP’s victory, it is ‘How to change your liability into your strength’. With the opponents taking potshots at Kejriwal for ‘running away’ in a matter of 49 days, the AAP was happy to bring a flashback of its 49-day tenure and remind people of what the party was capable of delivering. Amidst the permanent face off with different authorities including the Delhi Police and the Central Government, the party was also able to remain in the headlines for reasons such as deflated electricity bills, stress on setting up night shelters and the launch of an anti corruption helpline.

If the AAP’s previous stint in the capital is anything to go by, it won’t take long for the touts to desert the Government offices and this time, for a much longer duration. For a political party which takes pride in its ideals of swaraj, the AAP has set up for itself an ominous target of organizing mohalla sabhas to connect with the people at the grassroots. If there is one aspect which remained untouched during AAP’s last tenure, it was women security. Pointers mentioned in their election manifesto, such as appointing woman marshals in the public buses, if implemented on the grounds, have the potential of transforming Delhi into a world class city. Those who would witness the oath taking ceremony on 14th February at the Ramleela Maidan would have a feeling of déjà vu. This time, hopefully, the dream would not end soon!

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