Delhi’s Tryst With Destiny?

A four-room house with 30 people in it.

The house, is of an Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) volunteer who is sharing it with tens of other volunteers who have poured in from different parts of the country and the world, to help out AAP in strategizing and reaching out to the aam janata. Today’s election would be the culmination of the efforts of the thousands of these volunteers and donors.  India could witness a politically historical moment on December 8 when the poll results would be declared.  If AAP sweeps the Delhi elections, it could bring out a similar wave of new generation politicians promising change in the country.

Delhi , among many things, is plagued by issues of corruption, women safety, statehood, electricity pricing, pollution and migrants. A reported Rs. 2300 crores was embezzled from the Commonwealth Games preparation. The Nirbhaya gang rape incident raised issues of women safety in the capital. Electricity prices have peaked over years. Slum redevelopment is a contentious issue.  Because of half-UT, half-state nature of the city-state, the Delhi Government cannot exercise control over departments like Delhi police. Pollution is also rampant in the city and the Yamuna river.

The three major parties (AAP, BJP, Congress) have tried to address these problems in their manifestos. The Aam Aadmi Party which emerged from Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement took a strong anti-corruption stance in its manifesto, whereas the BJP and Congress barely touched the issue. AAP promises to enact the Jan Lokpal bill in 15 days of coming to power. AAP also maintained its clean image in the choice of candidates and election campaign fundraising. On the eve of elections, AAP volunteers are collaborating with the locals to prevent vote-buying by cash or liquor distribution.

Despite decent chances, what if AAP doesn’t have enough majority to form the government? Being in minority, would they be able to effect changes to the system? Would the aam aadmi political movement sustain? Much down in the South in 2009, Jayaprakash Narayan (JP)’s Lok Satta presented itself as an alternative to the corrupt political parties. Lok Satta started out as a grassroots movement for democratic reforms and later transformed to a political party. However, with the exception of JP, no Lok Satta candidate ever got elected to the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly. Lok Satta’s political future is itself in doubt. Could this happen to AAP?

Probably not. Arvind Kejriwal was the apple of media’s eye during Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement, which gave him a wider public connect. The fact that many an aam aadmi  gave up  money and personal life to volunteer for AAP’s campaign on his call is proof enough. Kejriwal and his candidates have met with rousing reception during campaigns a number of times. If only this translates to votes, Delhi would witness a major political overhaul.

AAP has made it this far by individual contributions of time and money of countless aam aadmi. Election results would depend on how willing you, as an individual are, to embrace this positive change in politics by believing in Kejriwal and his team’s tenacity. You either do or you don’t. Stand for what you believe by voting in today’s elections.

Find your candidate’s background here: National Election Watch, 2013) AAP candidate profiles, from their website)

You can find a comparison of manifestos of AAP, BJP and Congress here:

Raghavi KodatiRaghavi is a 3rd year B.Tech student at IIT Madras. She is a technology and policy enthusiast. She has previously written for the IITM news body, The Fifth Estate and worked for many other student organizations. Currently, she is working as Associate, Programs for Alexis Centre for Public Policy and International Relations.

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