Delhi Musings: AK's extravagant promises vs the Punjabi pride
Desperate to have his party’s footprint outside of Delhi, our man AK recently announced that if his party forms govt in Punjab then every adult woman will get Rs.1000/month. Buying votes, eh?
The farmers’ protests at the gates of Delhi began a year ago on the 26th of November, 2020. They were not allowed to enter the Capital to protest against farm laws. Since then, they braved not just the Delhi winter, an equally severe summer, record monsoon rains and Covid-19 but also the water cannons of Delhi Police, FIRs, arrests, suspension of internet services, discontinuation of electricity and even blocking of water supply.
They were called names, from being ill-informed to anti-national, from being funded by Khalistanis to being supported by tukde-tukde bus stops, in office canteens, in bars and pubs at CP, in marriage parties at Chattarpur and at tea stalls how this government knew what was better for the farmer – something that the farmer himself had no clue about. They scorned at the farmers for causing traffic snarls on Delhi’s borders!
The Dilliwallahs with their poor knowledge of farms, farmers and farm laws are maintaining a stiff upper lip. And no, they know nothing of the impending elections in states and the impact the farmers’ agitation would have had on those results.
Speaking about elections - our man AK has been at it again. Desperate to have his party’s footprint outside of Delhi, he is trying every possible trick to be relevant in the states due for polls next year.
He recently announced that if his party forms the government in Punjab then every woman aged 18 years and above will get Rs.1000 per month in their banks. The 2011 Census put the figure of women in Punjab at about 1.30 crore; and if half of them are eligible to vote, approximately 65 lakh women will receive the dole.
It would mean a staggering Rs. 7,800 crores a year! Trust the state that has struggled to pay salary to employees make extravagant promises elsewhere. There has been a sharp dip in tax and non-tax revenues of states on top of Covid-led expenses. Delhi has been luckier than most but it cannot be said that AK has spent the funds wisely.
The elections are still a few months away; so, there could be more freebies coming. Punjab is a state that prides itself in its people’s capacity to work hard against odds. Of course, that’s not something that anyone in AAP considered – the Punjabi Pride! Wonder if this isn’t buying votes, then what is? If politicians believe that a thousand bucks a month in the bank of a woman will lead to gender equality and women empowerment, then God help us.
(The writer blogs at stateofdelhi.in)
(This article was first published in National Herald on Sunday)