Delhi musings: Freebies patented by AAP?

Our man AK believes that free bijli-paani is his exclusive turf and anybody else announcing such sops is a trespasser and ‘fake’

Delhi musings: Freebies patented by AAP?

Giraj Sharma

Himachal Pradesh goes to poll sometime in OctoberNovember. The BJP government in HP is shaky about its chances of returning to power in this hill state despite having won four states recently. Call it lack of conviction due to nondelivery on the promises made earlier or blame in on the fears of anti-incumbency – the party is showing signs of nervousness.

The state government announced some freebies recently and these included free power up to 150 units and free water in villages across the state. And to woo the women voters, the state government has offered to slash 50% of bus fares for women in the state-owned bus service. The party truly thrives on the fact that public memory is too short for it had been extremely critical of the freebies offered by AAP in Punjab and in Delhi.

BJP playing the ‘so called’ AAP game of freebies was too good an opportunity for the Aam Aadmi Party to let go. No sooner were the announcements made on the occasion of Himachal Pradesh Foundation Day by the Chief Minister of the state that Aam Aadmi Party got in to its act of crying foul. And it cried like how! Our man AK called his HP counterpart as a copycat! While on one side AK took credit of having induced fear in the BJP on the other hand he even called these announcements ‘fake’ and went on to claim that the freebies will be withdrawn post elections.

Dilliwalahs were highly amused with all this howling bit for it seemed akin to a nursery kid crying when his bench-mate takes away his favourite colour crayon.

Whatever may have been the HP government’s compulsions to offer freebies – it is just one point of contention. The more contentious issue is the manner in which AAP has appropriated this business of offering freebies as a ‘patented’ solution. That someone else can also play the same desperate game of doling out benefits to voters for free is not something that seems to rest easy with AK and his party. God knows whatever happened to principles, middle-class values, economic development and good governance?

BJP’s ‘corruption’ salvo:

It is not that the action was confined only to Himachal Pradesh and how can that be when we have impending municipal elections in Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party seriously believes that it is on a strong wicket this time and that it has the wherewithal to dislodge the BJP from the municipality.

It was a little surprised though when the BJP fired the first salvo by claiming that AAP is not serious on its anticorruption drives and that it simply creates noise about it. Just as it had recently imported a young MP from Karnataka for demonstration in front of our man AK’s residence, this time BJP brought in their national spokesperson Sambit Patra to take up issues of financial irregularities in the running of Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Transport Corporation and other departments.

It triggered an all too familiar game of blames and counter blames. And mind you the dates of the municipal elections are yet to be announced.

AK’s expertise in farming:

Dilliwalahs were highly amused to learn of our man AK’s plan of addressing the farmers of Karnataka. The state of which AK has been a CM for a little more than seven years has just about 23,000 hectares marked as irrigated area as against over 40,00,000 hectares in Karnataka.

What wisdom or experiences will our CM share with the farmers there is something that folks are finding difficult to fathom. And mind you, these farmers in Karnataka are not even protesting or are on a dharna or any sorts. But then if someone at Lok Kalyan Marg in Delhi can offer advice on how clouds can actually help planes escape the enemy’s radars then our man AK is within his right to offer suggestions to the farmers of Karnataka.

(The author blogs at stateofdelhi. in. Views are personal)

(This was first published in National Herald on Sunday)

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