Arvind Kejriwal took the oath for the second time as the chief minister of Delhi on February 14, Valentine’s Day, in 2015. Three years down the line, his love affair with the people of Delhi seems not only over, but it is turning out to be a bitter relationship. Once the heady intoxication of love that led to an unprecedented electoral victory for the AAP was over, people expected things to settle down and the newly-elected government to carry on with good governance and deliver on the promises which, even discounting the rose-tinted hues of a lover’s promise, seemed substantial.
But three years later, people are feeling overwhelmingly betrayed — that is reflected in their subsequent electoral forays in Delhi as well as elsewhere. Having come from the same school of thought that nurses the incumbent government at the Centre, Mr Kejriwal was essentially a rabble-rouser who created demons where none existed. It goes to his credit that he effectively used the social media and the grassroots networks of mostly socially conservative organisations like that of Anna Hazare and Baba Ramdev to substantiate the fake campaign that he had built. Needless to say, in doing do, he was in tacit understanding with the BJP.
Thereafter, his strategy has been to periodically raise the stakes in opposition to Narendra Modi and the BJP in order to keep his minority and liberal support base intact. On the other hand, his policies vis a vis the poor and the dispossessed has been that of perpetuating squalor so that a permanently dispossessed people keep looking up to him for doles. A very concrete example of this is the fact that despite the earlier Congress government having put into place a comprehensive policy of rehabilitation of slumdwellers, the Kejriwal government has tried to find solutions in allowing double-storied or triple-storied “jhuggis” without property rights or adequate civic infrastructure. Needless to say, the middle class and the aspiring youth are totally off his agenda — whom he tacitly wants to go for the BJP.
However, such deceptions can only go on for so long. As the adage goes, you can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Despite its `526-crore publicity budget in the very first year of his government, and all the frequent “Mai Arvind Kejriwal bol raha hoon” messages that he blares out to all unsuspecting car-riders and radio listners, he is getting more and more exposed by the day. His running with the rabbit and hunting with hounds duplicity is getting too noticeable to be ignored. When it comes to Delhi’s affairs, he is in a state of perpetual strife with the Central government over the constitutional provisions that govern Delhi. In the process it is the 2.3 crore people of the city who are left suffering. At the same time, in election after election, he puts up candidates — earlier in Gujarat, and now in Meghalaya — only to ensure that the BJP wins. In a nutshell, all his efforts for the past three years have only resulted in misery for the people of Delhi and comfort for the BJP.
The perpetual blame game and playing the victim card has started taking its toll on the development of Delhi. A closer examination of two of his self-proclaimed “major achievements” in the fields of education and healthcare indicates that these are nothing but empty claims. Setting up a couple of “model” schools and “mohalla clinics” used for photo-ops and circulation for public consumption in India and abroad does not indicate substantive changes in terms of infrastructure and quality. In education, despite all the tall claims of “revolutionising” the system , his government has not been able to answer why nearly one lakh students have left Delhi government schools in the past three years. Under the earlier Congress government, the number of students in government schools rose steadily every year, reaching a peak of 17.75 lakh students in 2013-14. Since then, it’s been declining every year, with only 16.77 lakh students in 2016-17. The Class 10 and Class 12 board exam results have been the worst in many years. The number of students passing out of Delhi’s government schools have steadily declined from 1.47 lakh in 2014 to 1.09 lakh in 2017. Similarly, Delhi’s average Class 10 board exam results slipped from 98.4 per cent in 2013 to 91 per cent in 2017. Students are leaving schools in large numbers, the board exam results are showing negative results, so then who are the beneficiaries of these so-called “reforms”?
Similarly, in health too, Delhi saw unprecedented annual outbreaks of vector-borne diseases in the last three years and the utter failure of the NCT government in being able to control it. The AAP had inherited a vast network of primary level health infrastructure from the previous government, which included 1,389 dispensaries and 973 polyclinics. Instead of strengthening the existing infrastructure, the Arvind Kejriwal government actually ruined all these facilities, trying to replace them with something new. Over the past three years, the AAP government has opened only 162 mohalla clinics, as against a promise of 1,000.
The existing dispensaries are suffering due to lack of manpower. Around 25 per cent of the sanctioned medical posts and 61 per cent of non-medical Posts under the Delhi government are lying vacant. The mohalla clinics do not provide any kind of first-line defence against outbreaks, and are not equipped to provide anything but very rudimentary OPD support.
The Delhi government promised and widely advertised that 200 types of tests were being done at the mohalla clinics, but in reality only two urine and blood tests being done were reported during FY 2016-17.
The other mohalla clinics do not have any lab facilities.
The Arvind Kejriwal government simply cannot run by just creating myths. After all, a good advertisement can sell a bad product only once, as next time the consumers get wiser.