Top leaders and strategists of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have put together what they claim is a more inclusive alternative to Narendra Modi’s Gujarat model of governance and beginning this week, they will showcase their “Delhi model” to voters in poll-bound Goa, Punjab and Gujarat.
Delhi’s deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyendra Jain, who are in Goa for three days, will tell AAP workers and volunteers about what they claim are the successes in Delhi.
From Thursday, AAP chief and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will spend four days in Punjab, where he will launch the party’s manifesto for farmers and talk about the claims of successes of Delhi in fixing the broken public healthcare and education system.
The Gujarat model of development – widely showcased as ”development-oriented governance” in sectors from industries to agriculture – during Modi’s reign as chief minister from 2001 to 2014 helped propel him to the position of Prime Minister in 2014. But it was also criticised as lopsided, with gaps in health, nutrition and poverty reduction.
In March 2014, the AAP launched a counter campaign against the BJP’s claims.
“The Gujarat model looks beautiful from the outside,” Jain told HT. “We plan to share with people our successes and ask them what is more important for you, lopsided islands of development or governance that benefits all? We are focusing on the basics – education and health.”
The health minister will talk about a three-tier system of public-funded health infrastructure. The government has set up neighbourhood clinics and polyclinics with free medicines and tests to take the primary healthcare burden off tertiary care government hospitals.
“Nearly 90% of the patients reaching hospitals wanted just primary care. Now those doctors are free to treat patients who need critical care,” he adds. On August 22, AAP launched a Delhi-style neighbourhood clinic in Mumbai that will be funded by the party.
Sisodia is focused on fixing the broken government school education system by 2018.
Jain says past governments “spent money but did not utilise it well.” In June, AAP announced the Chunauti 2018 programme that aspires to bring government school students studying in Class 9 on par with private school students. A month later, government schools in Delhi held a meeting between parents and teachers – an exercise earlier confined only to select private schools.
Two days before leaving for Goa, Sisodia announced 100% ReadAbility, which will ensure all Class 6 students can read Hindi textbooks by November 14. A government survey had found three-fourths of them couldn’t.
In 2017, the AAP will make a bid for power outside the capital. The party already is in election mode in Punjab, Goa and Gujarat, which have elections next year. “We are focusing on states where we can directly fight the BJP and the Congress,” an AAP strategist said.
Party leaders feel it can make a serious national pitch in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls if the AAP wins at least one more state.
“All regional parties are confined to one state. Winning one or two more states will put us in a different league and place as an alternative to BJP,” he explained.
Kejriwal has positioned himself and the AAP as avowedly anti-corruption and against crony capitalism. The party has frequently targeted Modi, saying his government is trying to stall the AAP’s efforts to govern Delhi.