Thursday 06 May 2021

News Analysed, Opinions Expressed

Can the AAP bounce back?

 

With a budget of just Rs30,000 per year per resident, the Delhi AAP government provides free electricity and water, state-of-the-art schools and the best hospitals. Why can’t the Goa government give its citizens even a fraction of these benefits when it can afford to spend more than four times as much per person?



In the 2017 Goa state legislative assembly election, the AAP flattered to deceive. Can it make a fresh start to sweep the state clean?

 

In the 2017 Goa state legislative assembly election, it flattered to deceive. The Aam Admi Party (AAP) fielded 39 candidates in the state’s 40 constituencies, only to see 38 of them lose their security deposits. Now, it is making a fresh start.

On Tuesday, AAP spokesperson, MLA and Vice Chairman of the Delhi Jal Board Raghav Chadha flew into Goa for a widely publicised “public debate” on whether the electricity model of Goa or Delhi was superior. The AAP had put up billboards at strategic locations announcing the debate.

Mr Chadha said he had accepted Goa Power Minister Nilesh Cabral’s “offer” for a “public debate”. Just days earlier, the respective chief ministers – Pramod Sawant and Arvind Kejriwal – had also engaged in a social media battle on who was managing his state better. Mr Cabral refused to take Mr Chadha’s bait, saying he was ready to debate with his Delhi counterpart Satyendar Jain, but not with an official of the Delhi Jal Board.

In fact, the Goa Power Minister had extended no such challenge. Mr Cabral had merely claimed that the electricity model in Goa was better than in Delhi, despite the AAP’s scheme for free power up to 200 units per month in the national capital. He added that he was ready to sponsor a flight ticket for anyone willing to come to Goa to study the state’s power model.

Goa BJP President Sadanand Shet Tanavade dismissed Mr Chadha’s visit as “a publicity stunt, nothing else”. But the AAP seems to have taken the advantage. Mr Chadha mocked the Power Minister and the Chief Minister, claiming that the BJP high command had “scolded” the CM and asked him and his ministers not to indulge in any public debate.

In a video that went viral, he claimed that the Delhi government had an annual budget of Rs60,000 crore for a population of about two crore residents, and therefore had around Rs30,000 to spend per resident per year. The Goa government, he said, had had an annual budget of Rs21,000 crore for a population of just 15 lakh residents, and had as much as Rs1.40 lakh to spend on each resident per year.

He said that with a budget of just Rs30,000 per year per resident, the Delhi AAP government was able to provide free electricity, free water, state-of-the-art schools and the best hospitals in the country. So why was it that the Goa government could not give its citizens even a fraction of these benefits when it could afford to spend more than four times as much as the Delhi government per person? “Where does all that money go?” he asked.

We do not know how accurate Mr Chadha’s figures are. But if they are true, it would indicate that there are huge inefficiencies and enormous corruption in this state.

There was no real reply to Mr Chadha’s statement. Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that people should not pay attention to “misunderstandings created by AAP MLAs from Delhi”. Mr Tanavade and Mr Cabral said nothing.

Before he left, Mr Chadha promised that if the AAP was elected to power in the next elections, every Goan household consuming 200 units or less would get free electricity, just like in Delhi.

Ever since Delhi MLA Atishi – who was responsible for the miraculous turnaround of Delhi’s government schools – was put in charge of Goa, the state unit of the AAP seems to have been re-energised. The party’s policy is to seriously target small states like Goa, when the next election is more than a year away. The strategy will follow its Punjab model; build grassroots workers and provide a strong third alternative to the two main parties.

In the last two months, the AAP’s ‘Oximitra’ campaign – loaning oximeters to those under home quarantine after testing Covid positive – has reached over one lakh households, building goodwill for the party. Its strategy is to directly connect with the people rather than just giving press statements and television bytes.  

It remains to be seen, however, whether popularity on the ground can be translated into votes. Goa needs a strong alternative. The Congress is both depleted and in disarray. Before the next election, for the sake of “winnability”, if it accepts back the turncoats who deserted the party en masse for the BJP, it may gain neither numbers nor credibility. The ruling BJP government, on the other hand, is rapidly losing public support.

In terms of good governance, the AAP has much to offer Goa. Its government’s performance in Delhi has been excellent. The only question is, having scored a duck in its ‘first innings’ in 2017, can the party move quickly enough to build a strong grassroots organisation that can turn out the votes of Goans for its ‘second innings’ in 2022?

Disclaimer: Views expressed above are the author's own.



All Goans & Goa Concerned NGOs & Individuals should support AAP to win these elections and make laws which will save Goa & Goans without hurting the sentiments of Holy Books. AAP will make Laws which will protect the identity of Goa & Goans without going against the Constitution of India. AAP is here to change the tradition Politics of Congress & BJP who divides Goans in the name of Language, Religion, Caste, etc. AAP will bring Laws which will protect the Environments of Goa. All Goans & Goa Concerned NGOs & Individuals should support AAP to Protect the identity of Goa & Goans. AAP is really an honest party, Goans can rely on it. AAP deserve one chance.

 
Jack De Goan |

AAP’s Oximeter Campaign is something is better than nothing. AAP is not in opposition and still doing a fantastic fabulous job. Think if they were in power in Goa what they would have done for Goans. Goans should bring AAP Health Care Model To Goa. The Best Health Care Model of AAP. Aam Aadmi Clinic is one of them. World is praising the AAP Health Care Model.

 
Jack De Goan |

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Ashwin Tombat

Ashwin Tombat has been the Editor of Gomantak Times and Herald. Worked as an Associate Editor of national magazine Gentleman in Mumbai, before shifting to Goa. Loves sailing, also participates in Marathons. Has worked as an activist in students's union and trade unions in Maharashtra. Also an artist of Street Theatre during student days.

 

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