Keeping it simple: Parties back to promising bare essentials in Delhi

  • Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Feb 04, 2015 00:11 IST

This is about as messy as any election campaign can get. Money from allegedly bogus firms flowing into the coffers of one party, another which is struggling to keep its head above the water, a third which has a chief ministerial candidate who has embarrassed it on more than one occasion. So it is little wonder that the BJP’s vision document, released so close to polling, has not created much of a ripple. In fact, this could also be because it says very little that is off the beaten path. One thing it is quiet on is the issue of statehood for the Capital, a demand the BJP raised as far back as 1993. The document’s release has already been overshadowed by a controversial remark made by a Union minister in which she has allegedly said that a ‘thief can’t tell us who should be probed’ in what is seen as a reference to the AAP leader. The vision document speaks of providing water and electricity, safety for women and, somewhat oddly, accountability in the police force. The police force reports to the Union home ministry and not the Delhi government as of now. The real problem that the BJP faces was articulated by its mentor organisation, the RSS, in its mouthpiece, the Organiser. The article said that the BJP was not comfortable in Delhi, an allusion to the fact that many in the party were unhappy with the elevation of latecomer Kiran Bedi as the chief ministerial candidate. The document really highlights the shortcomings of successive governments.

The fact that basics have to be promised to the people suggests that the political class has failed in its responsibilities all these years. Given this, the claim that the BJP will make Delhi a world-class city seems far-fetched. The city’s women have become increasingly unsafe over the years, resulting in the most horrific forms of violence against them. Issues like this need real political will and sustained efforts from the party that eventually assumes office. The first task for any government would be to ensure that any further expansion of or construction in the city is planned, keeping in mind the resources available. The issue of regularisation of illegal colonies too will be a gargantuan task for the next chief minister. Public transport will be another challenge in a city where the explosion of cars on the roads is causing both traffic congestions and a dramatic increase in air pollution.

Ever since the last election, after which the government lasted but 49 days, Delhi has not got the kind of governance it needs. If any party can deliver even half the things it has promised in its manifesto or document, then brighter days are ahead for the Capital.

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