The headline was a question in the HT-Cfore survey done across 70-odd areas in the city. And contrary to popular perception, 55 per cent residents responded with an unequivocal ‘Yes.’
This is good news for parliamentary democracy, which is only 15 years old in Delhi, said political analyst Mahesh Rangrajan, “The MLA is a harassed creature in Delhi. In a city where central agencies control a lot, he hardly has powers to do much for his constituency. But the survey seems to indicate that people have benefitted from MLAs.”
The numbers may vary but the support form MLAs is evident across constituencies from posh Hauz Khas (80%) to Nand Nagari (92 %).
No doubt, there is a degree of disillusionment among voters, but the naysayers amount to no more than 32 per cent.
Right-to-information activist Arvind Kejriwal said this was to be expected. “What the people want to convey is that the MLA is not useful enough, thanks to his lack of power in fixing their regular problems. That needs to be addressed.”
The remaining 13 per cent “Can’t Say” whether they need an MLA, but as political analyst Dipankar Gupta of JNU explained, “Of course, people need politicians or MLAs for democracy to work. But do they get the kind of MLAs they need?”
So, are the survey figures indicative of what Delhi wants?
“Absolutely,” said Kejriwal. “It means, while a large number of people have given up on politicians, a larger proportion want to persevere with the present system for the better.”
Rangrajan said it was a verdict in favour of democracy. “Although the voter turnout has been decreasing in successive elections in Delhi, democracy still appears to have its place secure.”