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Aam Aadmi Party - a phoenix rises from the ashes
Pre-AAP Indian politics in brief
Since the time India tasted the fruits of independence from the British rule, hardly did anyone realize that the nation was slowly pulled into a quicksand of dirty politics and two faced leaders.This quicksand was composed of the people and political parties people adored the most in those days, the major players include Indian National Congress, Bhartiya Junta Party, Samajwadi Party and many more.
66 years have passed since India became independent(well, officially it did), and many things have changed.The most celebrated parties in the history have earned themselves the tags of being the most corrupt and they continue to be so.Meanwhile, the nation grieved for a change.Ironically, India was gifted with people like Rahul Gandhi .It's for common people to decide how these people would have changed the course of this country, had they been exercising actual power.
Those in power have always been in the limelight, thanks to their preference to fill their own pockets rather than looking for the nation's betterment.A few of such major instances have been pointed out below-
INDIA'S BIGGEST SCAMS TILL DATE -
- 1960-Teja loan scandal – 220 million INR (US$3.5 million)
- 1976-Kuo oil scandal – 22 million INR(US$350,000)
- 1981-Cement Scam -Union Minister A R Antulay – 300 million INR(US$4.8 million)
- 1995-Preferential allotment scam – 50 billion INR(US$800 million)
- 1996-Fertiliser import scam – 1.33 billion INR(US$21 million)
- 2000-UTI scam – 320 million (US$5.1 million)
- 2002-Stamp paper scam – 200 billion (US$3.2 billion)
- 2003-HUDCO scam
- 2005-Bihar flood relief scam – 170 million (US$2.7 million)
- 2006-Punjab city centre project scam – 15 billion (US$240 million)
- State Bank of Saurashtra scam – 950 million (US$15 million)
- Army ration pilferage scam – 50 billion (US$800 million)
- Jharkhand medical equipment scam – 1.3 billion (US$21 million
- Madhu Koda mining scam - 5,000 crore INR
- Rice export scam – 25 billion (US$400 million)
- Orissa mining scam – 70 billion (US$1.1 billion)
- Gujarat's VDSGCU Sugarcane scam – 187 million (US$3.0 million)
- Andhra Pradesh Emmar scam – 25 billion (US$400 million)
- Madhya Pradesh MGNREGA scam – 90 million (US$1.4 million)
- Jharkhand MGNREGA scam
- Karnataka land scam
- Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike scam – 32.07 billion (US$510 million)
- Mumbai Sales Tax fraud – 10 billion (US$160 million)
- Maharashtra education scam – 10 billion (US$160 million)
- Ultra Mega Power Projects Scam- 290.33 billion (US$4.6 billion)
- Andhra Pradesh land scam – 1000 billion (US$16 billion)
- Forex derivates scam – 320 billion (US$5.1 billion)
- Service tax and Central Excise Duty fraud – 191.59 billion (US$3.1 billion)
- Flying Club fraud – 1.9 billion (US$30 million)
- NSEL Scam - 5500 crores
- Railway iron ore freight scam - 17000 crores
- Vodafone tax Scandal - Rs 11,000-crore involves Union minister Kapil Sibbal
- Madhya Pradesh wheat procurement scam- 4 crores
- Haryana seed scam- 5 crore
Comparison of corruption levels in Asian countries
Corruption Perceptions Index Rank
Score(out of 100)
Lalu Yadav - involved in the 940 crore INR fodder scam
The above mentioned figures clearly show the impact of the ever increasing scams on the Indian economy.The loss of hundreds of billions of money in these scams has not only led to a very lethargic and unreliable government backbone but also plays a key role in propelling the suffering Indian population to a worse position.Had the money involved in scams and overseas accounts been directed to needed ones, India would be a better place to live in, not the bitter one it's currently in.
Every cloud has a silver lining- Anna Hazare enters the big picture
Amidst all this darkness, the people of India saw a ray of hope with the rise of Anna Hazare.His movement was marked by his hunger strike from 5 April '11 to 9 April '11 regarding the passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill or the anti-corruption bill.Though he faced criticism for his authoritarian thoughts on justice such as death penalty for corruption and forced vasectomy to enforce family planning, he was named among the top 100 influential people in 2011.
Considered among the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, he managed to influence thousands of people across the nation including the youth.He considered politics to be a dirty game and emphasized staying away from it.
Though, Arvind Kejriwal was among the activists in Anna's army, he had different thoughts.With a belief that this nation can be purified only if attempts are made from within the governments framework.This was a period when the former seemed to part from Anna's movement and started his own political party, the Aam Aadmi Party.
With thousands of hurdles on the way, Arvind Kejriwal started his political movement against the established and corrupt parties and within a year, saw the involvement of millions from different parts of the nation.The AAP has led several protests since its formation. Among these was a campaign against an alleged nexus between government and private corporations relating to price rises for electricity and water in Delhi. Another saw the party demanding justice for victims of sexual harassment and rape, including the introduction of a stronger anti-rape law.
The symbol that shook the nation
AAP forms minority government in Delhi
The 2013 Delhi electorate elections were the party's first contest since their formation in 2012.Cruising past all the unethical games played by the opposition, the Aam Aadmi Party won 28 out of 70 seats, Bhartiya Junta Party along with allies SAD won 32, and the Indian National Congress 8.
With no dominant party in sight and vibes across Delhi that a re-election would result in clear majority for the Arvind Kejriwal led party, the Indian National Congress decided to offer 'not conditional' support to the AAP.
Arvind Kejriwal became the second-youngest Chief Minister of Delhi
The Aam Aadmi Era begins
It has barely been 3 weeks since the AAP came into power from Dec 28, 2013.Arvind has shown promising signs since.
Following are some of the instances which have earned the Aam Aadmi Party the never-ending support and love across the nation.
1.Water supply policy
With the aim of providing every Delhi house with clean drinking water, AAP has tightened its noose upon the powerful Delhi tanker mafia.The Aam Aadmi Party on Monday kept its promise of free water - 20 kiloliters per month or an average of about 660 liters a day per family - but it came with a rider and a whammy for bigger water consumers. The rider is that if consumption exceeds 20 kl, you would be billed for the entire water consumed, and the whammy was that water rates would be hiked by 10%.
2.Delhi Jal Board Reloaded
Within a week of assuming his office, Arvind Kejriwal delivered on his promise of looking into the matters of existing corruption in the Delhi Jal Board.This resulted in re-posting and suspension of several existing DJB officials, and the Delhi CM has promised he won't rest until each guilty person is brought to justice, which includes Sheila Dixit and her army of corrupt party members.Transparency has been brought in the policies of the Delhi Jal Board and meters have been repaired and established at the water entry and distribution points to keep track of this valuable resource.
Free water has been ensured to the 'unregistered inhabitants' who have been depending on the most infamous tanker mafia till now.More water treatment laboratories have been set up to check the levels of contamination.Domestic consumers with inflated bills till Nov 2013 have been relaxed of the current payment scheme.Exclusion of private companies from the operations of DJB has been the top priority.
Water harvesting techniques are being promoted.Kejriwal is also planning to revoke the recently passed bill which automatically increases the water bill year by year.
3.Swaraj and Decentralization of power
Looking at the everlasting problem of our beloved politicians turning a deaf ear to our woes, the AAP has decided to snatch power from the leaders and distribute it among the people.The basic idea which backs decentralization is that the power should remain in the hands of those who are affected directly by it.
Aas quoted in the AAP manifesto, 'No political party in India today will do this. It is this corrupt and selfish current political system, that forms the Executive pillar of our democracy, that we aim to change.'
For the first time, has such a decision been made to bring the monster - bribery into control.Recent ventures had been taken by previous governments, but they were limited to allotment of the task to a team of personnel, who seemed to sleep over the heaps of applications and complaints.
AAP has taken a similar initiative, except that their team is not limited this time. Every citizen is an investigator and every person has equal power in exposing any malpractice.
During his speech, the Delhi CM urged people not to deny bribe to any official who demands it, but a sting operation should follow which will bring everyone to justice.This has not only spread a wave of fear among the corrupt ones but has also strengthened the will of the 17 million residents of the national capital.
5.End VIP culture: no red light
His commitment to a simpler and transparent form of governance was welcomed by the capital which gave him a magisterial second-place in the recent elections.The 45-year-old political novice has promised to delete the constituents of Delhi's VIP culture including the flashing red lights that give politicians' cars the screeching right of way on roads.
After denying the government bungalow and Z category security cover, he successfully pulled the 'metro ride stunt' to reach Ram Lila maidan for his swear-in ceremony 28 December 2013.
6.Necessary infrastructure for govt schools
Database has been prepared for every government school in the Delhi region and a very detailed list has been prepared to cater to the infrastructural needs, which includes provision of toilets, benches, tables etc to the kids.Additionally, each school board has been sanctioned an instant amount of 1 lakh rupees to undertake necessary development till action is taken by considering the issues pointed out in the database being created.
7.Provision of homeless shelters
"All abandoned buses in Delhi are being modified into night shelters. These buses will be provided with blankets and other basic amenities so that the homeless can at the least sleep properly," a post on the AAP's Facebook page said. This is part of AAP's outreach after being elected. The drive is a move to provide refuge to the homeless with the motive of helping them from Delhi's cold weather.
© 2014 Chinmay Das