New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party’s manifesto for the Delhi assembly elections is silent on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) but the opening line of the document states that the ruling party will serve the people of Delhi by “upholding justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution”.
Releasing the manifesto Tuesday, along with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia reiterated a message of unity.
“Jab desh ka har baccha acchi shiksha payega, jab har bacche ka accha illaaj ho payega, jab suraksha aur samaan mahilayein mein aatimvishwas jagayega, jab sasti bijli pani har ghar ko mil payega, jab dharam jaati se uthkar har jan Bharat ko aage badhayega, tab hi amar tirange aasman mein shaan se leharega (When every child in the country is educated, when every individual is able to get proper treatment, when every women feels secure and empowered, when cheap electricity and water is available to every household, when people of this nation rise above caste and religion, then the nation will progress),” Sisodia read from the cover page of the manifesto.
The manifesto also includes the promise that the party will introduce a Deshbhakti (patriotic) curriculum in Delhi government schools, which the chief minister had highlighted last year. Constitution expert Meghnad S, who helped design the course, had told ThePrint in April that the three-month course will focus on three core values of the preamble: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.
The protests against the new citizenship law, particularly at Shaheen Bagh and Jamia Millia Islamia, have been the focal point of the campaigning, with the BJP making them its poll plank. The ruling AAP has not explicitly backed the protests amid fears that any overt support could help the BJP’s polarisation of the Delhi electorate.
Kejriwal Ka Guarantee Card crux of manifesto
The AAP manifesto has highlighted the ‘Kejriwal Ka Guarantee Card’, which the chief minister released Sunday, promising to continue the 200 units of free electricity, Mohalla marshals to “ensure a safer Delhi for women” and 24×7 clean water to every resident of the national capital.
The card has 10 promises in all, including a “pollution-free Delhi”, “world-class” educational facilities, better healthcare facilities at Mohalla clinics and better public transport, among others.
Apart from the card, the Aam Aadmi Party has made 28 other promises in its manifesto that include some of the party’s age-old agenda such as bringing in a Delhi Jan Lokpal and a Delhi Swaraj Bill, through which it promises to devolve power to Mohalla Sabhas.
The AAP appears to have toned down its demand for full Delhi statehood as this is the very last promise in the manifesto. “AAP will continue to push for full statehood for Delhi within the Constitutional framework using its social, political and moral authority,” the manifesto reads.
“We might not have come out aggressively on it (fight for statehood) from the outside this time but internally, it has always been a priority for AAP and we’ll continue to fight for it,” Ajoy Kumar, a member of AAP’s election manifesto committee, told ThePrint.
The demand for statehood appears to have lost its lustre as both AAP and the BJP, which too had raised the issue vociferously in the past, more or less remained silent on it this time around.
Silent on jobs but manifesto promises 24×7 malls
In 2015, AAP had promised eight lakh jobs but this time around, the 2020 manifesto does not promise a number. Instead, it promises to enhance the participation of women in the economy.
“We will undertake initiatives to connect housewives with job and business opportunities from or near their homes so that they can contribute to their household income as well as to Delhi’s and the nation’s,” the manifesto states.
The manifesto also promises to ensure new appointments of safai karamcharis according to the “2011 census of Delhi’s population and taking account the rapid expansion of residential colonies in Delhi”. It has also promised a compensation of Rs 1 crore to families of safai karamcharis “who die while performing duty”.
As ThePrint had exclusively reported on 18 January, AAP has promised to establish 24×7 markets on a pilot basis in key commercial areas where shops and restaurants among others can remain open round-the-clock. “This will make Delhi a bustling, 24×7 hospitable city and also contribute to tourism and the overall economy,” the manifesto states.
AAP has also promised to introduce doorstep delivery of ration as “a revolutionary initiative to ensure dignity, transparency and accountability in the supply of food ration”.
Immunity for traders
The manifesto also promises to ensure there is no “Raid Raj” in the next five years. “We shall continue providing a free a fair business environment without raid raj to all businesses in Delhi like in the past five years,” the manifesto reads. “We will work closely with the trade and business community with a spirit of trust and collaboration to strengthen Delhi’s economy.”
The party has also promised to ensure protection from the sealing drive. “We will continue to take all legal and administrative measures to put pressure on the Central government, DDA and MCD to not allow the sealing of industries/shops and ensure that the sealed shops are opened,” the manifesto states.
It has also promised to fight for ownership rights for resettlement colonies and the regularisation and registry of unauthorised colonies.
Yatras for elderly, Bhojpuri for Purvanchalis
AAP’s manifesto promises to take the city’s elderly on religious pilgrimages or Teerth Yatras. “We will take 10 lakh senior citizens in Delhi to Teerth Yatras over the next five years,” states the party manifesto.
With the Capital home to a large Purvanchali population, the manifesto promises to ensure due recognition for Bhojpuri. “We shall pursue with the Central government for Bhojpuri to be included in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution of India,” it states.
The party has also promised to ensure victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom get justice through “prompt action” on the findings of the Supreme Court-appointed SIT under Justice S.N. Dhingra.
The party has also promised to extend the Delhi Metro to new areas such as Burari, Kirari, Narela, Karawal Nagar, Mangolpuri among others.