Tuesday, February 3, 2015

An Open Letter to: Arvind Kejriwal


TO MY READERS

It wouldn't be wise on my part to start off this open letter without giving you a small insight into what led me to write this open letter. So, here it goes - 

India being a democracy, a republic, where the public is supposed to have all the powers. Throughout the years, India, having 29 states and 7 union territories, goes on to show the power of the people through elections, that is the responsibility of the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body which is responsible for administering free and fair elections at the national level, and it's state level units, the state election commissions responsible for various elections at the state level.

Going through this democratic electoral process, the people of Delhi gave their mandate which resulted in a hung assembly and the largest emerged party Bharatiya Janata Party refusing to form government, Aam Aadmi party, with the help of the ousted Indian National Congress, that was in power for continuous stint of 15 years, and which was ousted because of an anti corruption sentiment which waved the people of Delhi so strongly that they ousted the party, and the veteran Chief Minister, Smt. Shiela Dixit. The Aam Aadmi party, coming to power, forming a minority government, with the help of the congress party, started working and within a period of 49 days, the Arvind Kejriwal led Delhi Government submitted to the Hon. Lt. Governer to dissolve the assembly, thus resigning from the government, and forcing Delhi to another round of elections, though, this took more than a year since the Lt. Governer didn't accept the request, and sending the assembly in suspended animation, maintaining the status quo, since the country was up for General elections just 3 months after the resignation of the Delhi government. The State Election Commission has now decided to hold assembly elections on 7th of February, 2015, for which the results will be declared on 10th of February, 2015.

GETTING TO THE POINT

Dear Mr. Kejriwal,

I have been longing for long to reach out to you. Seems, the fan following you have gathered, in the years, since you joined Anna's movement, you have become a household name, atleast in Delhi, so near that atleast an hour of our daily lives goes talking about you and your party and your political stints, be it in at our homes, in office, or while travelling to and from office. I hope you understand the importance of that one hour, the common voter of the state takes out of his twenty four hours. So close you came, still so far you have been that it's almost impossible for the common man, which you and your party claim to represent in the political arena to make his sentiments reach out to you. Being a voter in Delhi, which bore the costs of conducting elections on such a large scale, and is forced to do that yet again.

Just as much as we expected from you, we have already been empty handed for once. Whatever the reason behind it, you have been called a deserter by the opposition, for resigning from the government, just in the beginning. Whatever the reasons you had, internally, even though, you and your party claimed it to be a result of the coalition of both the opposition parties. I for one, do think that you had some other reason at play. Just as you and your party had declared before tabling the controversial Jan Lokpal Bill at the floor of the house in Delhi, that if it wasn't for the bill to be passed, the government would resign, and you did it. Kudos to you for keeping up with your word! What I believe was it was something aimed at something else. Since beginning you have been portraying yourself and your party to be one of the most honest political parties in the countries, and that action of yours could have cemented that a bit further, had you been able to market it properly, and had you tackled the situation in a way better than how you did. As I see it, your party in itself was divided among people who opined that the government should resign in case the bill couldn't pass, while others didn't want you to resign from the government. Your internal dispute led the opposition parties put up the deserter tag on you.

Cutting that part out, My main intention of this open letter to you was, well, to reach out to you, to put forth the sentiments of aam aadmi. I haven't taken a look on the agenda, your manifesto, which, you have decided to put forth to the people of Delhi, to give you another chance. I didn't have a chance to take a look at that 34+MB PDF document of the manifesto your media team has uploaded on the website of the party, but, there have been a few things your party has been highlighting, ever since your party started off your run up campaign to the 2015 assembly elections, way back in November, mobilizing the volunteers to reach out to the most interior parts of Delhi, to swing the public sentiments in your favour. Your party has been applauded for thinking that out, time and again, deciding the things well in advance.

I just intended to share my opinions and put forth a few questions, that I have been pondering over, which, your party, and even some of your opposition parties, have been portraying as one of their main agendas to lure the voter towards them. I have been following a few of such things, ever since the political parties started their campaigning. Just a few of them have made me to think over them. 


Please let me put them individually:

1. Security of Women: As big as it gets, this, in the recent times, has turned out to be quite a big factor, in elections. Just like the trump card of Corruption, that you and your party paid in the 2013 assembly elections, this issue has got quite an important factor, which can make or break the whole thing. Just as most of the political parties have been playing around with the idea, I would like to ask you, how well do you think your government can fulfil the promise of providing security to the women, an issue, that has become one of the topmost priorities, ever since that fateful night of 16th December, 2012, and a series of incidents following and preceding that. I have some reservations to the "solutions" you have put forth, which, you expect will help your government ensure better security for women. A slew of these measures include putting up security cameras and separate commando forces to provide better security to women of Delhi. I would like to ask this from you and will put forth this question to the other political parties too, if I'm able to do that, well within time. How do you think putting up security cameras throughout Delhi and raising a separate commando force will provide better security to women, or for that matter, to anyone living, or moving around in Delhi? How do you expect security cameras to stop such crimes? Ofcourse security cameras might prove helpful in nabbing and bringing to justice, the culprits, however, how will it stop crimes? What your government needs to do, (atleast, this is what I think, you should do), is to sensitize the police and other departments who are dealing with any such issues, to understand the sensitivity of these crimes, and the mental and physical agony a victim of such crimes undergoes.


About the commando force you have promised to raise, how do you think that a force of 1,000 or even 10,000 such commandos would secure lives of th e women population we already have, and the hundreds if new ones who come to  visit Delhi?


The point is, none of you have any concrete plans to stop these crimes. All you people have is just hollow claims. Please try and make a panel, like one of your poll panels, and rethink, how are you going to raise funds to install the thousands if security cameras, let alone managing them, to get concrete evidence in case of crimes, and how much time your agencies will take to complete the projects and then provide security to the women. Just think of it.


2. Free WiFi: I came to see the huge hoardings telling that Delhiites will get free WiFi if we vote you to power. Well enough. You have quite a valid point there. Even now, while writing this, I am using my phone's internet connection, that sets me back the money which if spent by a family in a city, will not be considered poor. (Source, Planning commission of India report, 2013)What to do? The cunning foxes sitting at the top of our Telecom companies, (sorry Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Mr. Anil Ambani and Sir Ratan Tata. Sorry sirs, but I can't stop a common man's sentiments from coming out) always find out ways to rob us of our hard earned money, irrespective of whether we earned it the legal way, above the table, or illegal, under it. Well, we Indians, against the common notion, do a lot to get the illegal money too. Risking our jobs, just for some money is, quite a big risk, and the prospect of getting jailed, too is there. Plus, we have to pay a part of our hard earned money is indeed liked giving a part of our hearts to our superiors, who do nothing to earn that money, but just sleep with eyes closed to our ways of earning that money. Then, we have to deal with the scapegoats, who treat this too as their vegetable vendor, bargaining to let out the bribe money. It's too hard. Okay, sorry for the deviation, I should come back to the matter, Free WiFi. Sir, I just wanted to know the conditions for getting that free WiFi, except for the fact that we have to bring you to power to get it. Actually, I couldn't see any small, almost invisible star on that poster. Had read somewhere that if its to for to be true, it probably isn't. Next time you order such posters be printed,  please consider adding a small line that this is what the plan includes. A common man doesn't like being duped, even If it is something he's getting for free. For some reason unknown to me, he thinks that even though he's a beggar, he can be chooser. Just seeingvit from the technology point of view, I was wondering, how is it possible to provide WiFi connections, that too for free, to each and every citizen of a whole state. And please beware, your posters said : poori dilli mein free WiFi (Free WiFi throughout Delhi). At times our telecom companies fail to meet the needs with their telecom towers, at a point, if too many people start talking on their phones, how do you expect that the infrastructure will support so many people? From an economic point of view, I understand that is quite a big promise made. I can't even imagine the costs involved and to be borne by the state's exchequer to make this happen.


Anyways, just a thought came up. What a bicycle rickshaw puller do with your free wifi? one who sleeps on his own rickshaw, under some flyover, or some bus shelter, in the night, for the fact that he can't earn that much to afford renting out a house. One who has to look for a traveller, early morning, willing to hire him, so that he could make some money to have his breakfast-cum lunch, who knows whether he'll be able to have his dinner or not? For him, it's just luxury, isn't it? For a country, which is still at 135th place in the Human Development Index, among the countries of the world, one which is sending unmanned missions to the Mars to show it's technological prowess, one which claims to provide millions of software developers to the world, still has to hide her face when it comes to the children dying of malnutrition, and where thousands of people struggle everyday for the want of food to live another day to again look for ways to arrange food. Why not start doing something for the most commonest of the men, whom, you claim to represent? Isn't that their right? Isn't their life not that important, as most of them, have come from different states for the want of work, and do not have a right to vote and decide for themselves, who would be the one to lead their way to prosperity? Grow up sir, change your agenda. You claim to be different, stand up to that claim, otherwise, we're already getting fooled for the last 68 years, you'll be added to the hordes of the fool makers.


3. Sasta Bijli Paani: The issue of cheap electricity and free water to all, as a right, sounds good, really good. Something that can get you votes in multiples of thousands, but, it's not something your USP. Is it? Take a look at the manifesto of the other two main opponents, they also have almost the same array of lollipops to get votes from the electorate. What's different in yours? We all know that Delhi is rarely producing any electricity, and that there isn't any scope to do that in future as well, using the traditional ways. You talk about, tapping Solar energy, great.  I welcome that. It's the need of the hour. You talk of getting audits done for the discoms, again a great initiative. You say about consumers being able to switch operators, for electricity, just like their telephone operators? What? What did you say? I don't believe that. How do you expect the operators to do that? Atleast, from a common man's point of view, I can't seem to understand that. The electricity lines are same, when an operator (discom), is allocated an area, it is their responsibility to lay the infrastructure, i.e. the electricity lines, electric meters and other such stuff. Why would they be interested in sharing that with a competitor? Why sir, why? Leave alone the discoms, do you have any idea the losses, in terms of revenue these discoms report every year? Loss of revenue due to theft of electricity. This indirectly goes in to put a dent on the facilities I would have got had the taxes they were supposed to pay on the profits they churn out of the consumers? Who is the one involved in this theft of electricity? I guess no one bothers to know, or put up a stop on it. As I've already said above, we Indians are quite shy when it comet out to shelling money for something, we feel is our right, that's the reason we bargain when we are supposed to pay bribe as well. And still seek guarantees from the bribe taker for our work to be done. Just to share with you, a lot of the employees of these discoms, who are supposed to provide connections, have their ways to earn money, by doing "things" to the electricity connection, that would fetch the consumer, lesser bills, and for them, some under the table money.


What to say about those who still like putting up a hook to the HVD's distribution boxes, the discoms have increasingly been putting throughout the city. As a Chief Minister, your government needs to take a look and resolve this issue of power theft as well. Just reducing the tariff rates will not make the thieves do away with theft. You need to take stringent actions against these thieves for the betterment of all.

Coming to water, your 49 day government, as it promised in the last assembly elections, did provide free water, atleast 20K kilolitres to each household every month. That's a great thing to see a government do. However, the duration this is going to continue seems to be dicey. Why? Because, again, there's a huge gap in the demand and supply of water. Delhi, since it  produces no water, has to depend on other neighbouring states for its drinking water needs. Much to the Delhiites' woes, the summers are back and the shortage of water we are going to face, we know the pain of it. Much to our woes, the Delhi Jal Board has been accused of sitting idle and doing nothing, to resolve the problems faced by us. Often the water supplied to our homes, is literally sewer water. Anyone will not go ahead to use that water for even the worst of the purposes, let alone drinking that "potable" water supplied by Delhi Jal Board. What do we do then? We can buy cans of mineral water, afterall, we have to drink it. Just like the power theft, there is rampant water theft as well. What is water theft you ask, when everyone is entitled to get 20K Kilolitres of free water? I guess, whoever, without having a legal connection to get drinking water draws water from Delhi Jal Board pipeline is stealing water. And unless the Delhi Jal Board accounts for these people too, who drink the water for free, before planning the water needs to supply, there is no way they are going to fulfil the demand.

4. Mehngai Maar Gayi: And regarding inflation, somewhere I saw a big hoarding saying "Mehngai toh Kejriwal hi kam kar sakta hai". (Only Kejriwal can ease inflation) How is that sir? As far as I know ecomomics and Indian Economy, the government, doesn't control prices of anything, except a few items, and except under certain circumstances. If that is true, how do you claim that you can control inflation? I guess Delhi is no small a state to convert it into a state controlled communist regime where the state will decide what is being grown and at what price it is being sold, and who can buy it.Talking about the vegetables, a news item I watched quite some time back, discussed that the APMC is being (man)handled by the touts and businessmen, whose sole aim is to earn profit. Once a vegetable item leaves one of the various wholesale markets, it's upon the regional heads of the flea market associations to decide upon the prices at which vegetables or fruits can be sold. I guess that is the reason we were forced to buy tomatoes at 160-200 Rs. a kg or onions at 100-160 Rs a kg and potatoes ~40 Rs. a kg. If you come to power, it will be a huge responsibility on your government to crack down on such forces at play, to control the prices. As we have already seen in the past, the minister used to give a statement in the media in the evening about shortage of something, and the very next morning, the prices used to soar 2-3 times to that of the previous day. What can one make out of it? even before confronting actual shortage, the people engaged in trading something went on to churn out traffic, as much as they can. Just as we know it, there is a lot a government can do to control prices, but a government does a lot less than it actually can do to do it.


I guess, this is already a long enough a letter to be actually called a letter. So, I would like to stop here, as I know there is almost no way you will answer any of it, or even read it. Anyways, I wanted to put up some questions, to the person, I would probably be voting for, to rule the city I live in, for the next 5 years.


As a dialogue in a video that went pretty viral during the last time you became the CM of Delhi, 

"Sir, vigilante justice karna bandd karo, aap CM ho Shaktiman nahi!"
You need to realize that, so do we, that even if you come to power, with a full majority, you, or for that matter any other person, whoever it is, doesn't have a magic wand that can be used to set all the things right at the blink of the eye. I said you need to understand that, because, you (and your party) literally need to understand that. Projecting yourself as the saviour of people and doer of all things good and the follower of honesty doesn't make you one. As we already know, even in our own hands all the five fingers are not equal, so does the party as well. Of late we have seen a few people leaving the Aam Aadmi Party and joined Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), including a few notable people like Shazia Ilmi claiming the party doesn't have internal democracy, and you hear to just a handful few. Whatever the reason be, they left the party, and you're left to answer. Isn't it? So, why try and project your party like that? Let your actions do the talking for you. Irrespective of whatever profile checks your party does to check a candidate's background, there are huge chances of tainted candidates making into your party and standing up in the elections. I just don't feel the need to cite a couple of such names.

Anyways, you, your party, your volunteers have done quite a great job, connecting to people, this time again. I would like to wish you best of luck for the upcoming election on 7th February. All the Best!

4 comments:

  1. That was quite a detailed letter! :D

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    1. Letters are supposed to be detailed, right?

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  2. Oh Damn. This was one hell of another 'ck' ka essay! Well, I could literally imagine that Kejru Bhaiya (K.B. for future ref.) said "Ruko, mai abhi Dharna kar ke aata hun" After every single point :P
    And the last sentence: only one thought! BURN! That was what an AAP supporter would have felt.
    In all, a marvelous essay. Loved. IT. Hope more follows.

    P.S. If they ever manage to get free Wifi, better keep torrent in ready :P

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    1. Ha, yes Shivam, with that kind promise where every political party is giving something for free, or subsidised, I guess we Delhiites will no longer need to pay any bills. I too am keeping my fingers crossed, for Kejriwal, as if he comes to power, my internet bill will supposedly be waived off. :P

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