Millennium Post

People’s power in full play

Even Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit failed to fix it in her own constituency, where she was mauled and swept away by newcomer Aam Aadmi Party promoter Arvind Kejriwal’s ‘broom’ sticks. Delhi’s visual development was most striking among all state capitals in the country. The capital city’s widened roads, flyovers, underground passes, malls, metro rail with air-conditioned coaches, swanky airports, etc., were other state chief ministers’ envy, but Sheila Dikshit’s pride. She spent crores to advertise her development model to impress voters only to ride her party to the worst ever election debacle.

Dikshit, like other big bosses in the Congress, forgot development is not measured in terms of the use of cement concrete and asphalts. People don’t eat roads and flyovers. For the common man, food, clothes and shelter are of primary concern. The nagging inflation of retail food prices in the last three years in a row, reaching its peak last month, despicable dwelling conditions in poor man’s colonies in city fringes, severe shortage of drinking water, extremely poor sanitation, increasing cost of electricity, rising incidence of water-borne and mosquito-carried diseases, under-employment, growing corruption and sharp increase in crime rates have driven the common man to his wit’s end.

Dikshit and her party took the biggest hit of the shimmering anger of the common man. Arvind Kejriwal’s AAP, the election symbol of which appropriately vented the ire of the common man and represented the latter’s most effective tool sweep out the pro-rich Congress administration’s dirt of corruption and arrogance to and spoke the mind of the general public against the mindless capitalist policies of the government. Its massive popularity with the masses in its very first appearance in the country’s electoral politics should be seen as a big warning to other established political parties such as the BJP, the Congress party’s main opposition at the national level, SP, BSP, NCP, Shiv Sena, JD, JD(U) and TDP. AAP has arrived in the country’s political scene as a game changer. Whether it will soon be able to expand its presence and influence in other parts of the country, time alone can tell. But, its message about what the country’s common man wants is amply clear.

The election results have proved that the public have finally refused to be fooled by such acts as food security without finding ways to raise food production under a regime that has vowed to cut fertiliser subsidy, power subsidy for lift irrigation and guaranteed procurement price to farmers in keeping with the cost of production and storage. The election results have proved that the common man has rejected the anti-people government policy of withdrawal of kerosene oil, cooking gas and diesel subsidies and the reckless privatisation of the energy sector that had led to a massive increase in the retail prices of electricity and petro-chemical and plastic products in the last five years to enrich their producers. And, finally as well as most decisively, the election results are the common man’s statement against the rampant corruption in the government the costs of which are being made to be borne by the common man. It seemed the entire national government had gone into hiding as the various state election results started unfolding on television channels and radio since the morning of 8 December. Where were those Congress spokespersons like Manish Tewari, Digvijay Singh, Avishek Manu Singhvi, Kapil Sibal, Jayram Ramesh, Mani Shankar Iyer, Jayanti Natarajan and Renuka Chowdhury, and their arrogant public defence of government policies, actions and inactions? What would Tewari say now about the Anna movement that gave birth of AAP?  His public snub and insult of Anna Saheb during his prolonged fast in Delhi and fight for a Jana Lokpal Bill are still fresh in public memory.

The Congress satraps said in democracy, elected government is answerable to institutions such as Parliament and not outside agitators.  They suggested that Anna supporters will have to get elected to voice their views on legislations.

They were sure that Gandhian Anna will not enter politics and even if he does such a party will not be able to unsettle the country’s electoral politics. Anna was not proved by their teasers. His lieutenants, led by Kejriwal, took the advice seriously and formed a people’s party, AAP. If the latest state election results are any indication of the shape of things to emerge after 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Congress may not even find a place as a major opposition in Parliament as it happened in 1977, the post-Emergency election. But, will that change the next government’s working style, economic policies, attitude to corruption and that to the common man’s self respect? It may still be early to predict if the people’s power will soon change the picture of polity and governance in the country.

One only hopes that what happened in Delhi soon reflects in ballot machines and boxes in future state and national elections across the country.

Next Story
Share it