New Delhi: The Delhi Assembly election result is an affirmation of the Aam Aadmi Party’s welfarist measures, which is not a ‘coincidence’ but an ‘experiment’ in Indian politics and the time has come for the other states to adopt the Kejriwal model.
The ‘Delhi model’ or ‘Kejriwal model’ has not only started giving sleepless nights to the BJP and the Congress governments in other states, but has actually forced them to do a rethink on their political strategy. The new model - subsidised electricity, water, health, education and other public services, gives relief to the people and help them save some money at a time when the economy is floundering.
The success of Kejriwal has spurred other states to adopt such a model which can deliver votes in return. The Mamata Banerjee government of West Bengal has announced free power up to 75 units to every household. The Maharashtra government also announced that it is planning to give free electricity up to 100 units to each household in the state. Reacting to this, Kejriwal tweeted, “I am happy that cheap electricity is now an issue in the polity of the country. Delhi has shown the way to other states. In 21st century, citizens should get cheap electricity 24 hours a day.”
Ratanmani Lal, a political commentator, told IANS, “As can be seen by the eagerness of the Maharashtra and the West Bengal governments in implementing the Kejriwal model, the cheap electricity and cheap water has become an issue of governance of national importance. This will put more pressure on the BJP and Congress governments in the states to provide subsidised public goods, though it is very difficult for them to do so. In Uttar Pradesh, the government will have to think about the ever increasing fees in private schools which is a big burden on the people.”
Sources have said that one should not get surprised if states like Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Karnataka announce such welfare measures in the coming days as they are under tremendous pressure to provide relief to the people ahead of elections in their respective states.
According to Surya Pratap Singh, a retired principal secretary, Delhi has witnessed a hike in electricity rates by more than 30 per cent in last two and a half years.
He said: “Delhi model has made cheap electricity a national issue. I have spent many years in the US. There also, electricity up to 200 units is charged very less. Secondly, India, according to the Constitution is a socialist and welfare state. We cannot criticise subsidies on public goods by calling it freebies. When the poor are taken care of even in the US, then it is all the more important in India.”
He added that the UP government is spending only 4 per cent of the budget on education, while Delhi is spending 25 per cent of its budget on it. It is time for the other states to deliver on the promises and focus more on basic needs.