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  Opinion   Edit  13 May 2024  AA Edit | Will Kejriwal ‘guarantees’ liven up electoral battle?

AA Edit | Will Kejriwal ‘guarantees’ liven up electoral battle?

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 14, 2024, 12:05 am IST
Updated : May 14, 2024, 12:05 am IST

AAP leader's bold promises challenge NDA's narrative, emphasizing education, healthcare, and industry reforms.

 Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Sunday, May 12, 2024. CM Kejriwal on Sunday announced 'Kejriwal ki Guarantee' - a list of promises for Lok Sabha elections. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)
  Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference, in New Delhi, Sunday, May 12, 2024. CM Kejriwal on Sunday announced 'Kejriwal ki Guarantee' - a list of promises for Lok Sabha elections. (PTI Photo/Shahbaz Khan)

The second straight volley Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has served in the electoral game against the Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the form of “10 Kejriwal’s guarantees” has the force of history and hence has the power to upset the calculations of the opponents.  

The pack of guarantees, coming from one of the 28 constituents of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc without the concurrence of the others, has its own limitations but Mr Kejriwal seeks to overcome them by presenting his own record of performance on several items on the list. The heavy stress on education and public health and the plans to spend Rs 10 lakh crore each on these two subjects is backed by the experience in Delhi where the AAP government has brought in revolutionary changes in the last 10 years. 

His promises on 24x7 electricity supply, simplification of GST regime and MSP for agricultural crops pertain to the demands of the industry, commerce and agricultural sectors. The other guarantees — land reclamation from China, scrapping Agniveer scheme, creation of two crore job opportunities every year and freeing the country from corruption are more of an effort to point fingers at the perceived failures of the NDA government in the respective fields than an earnest attempt to come up with solutions. Full statehood for Delhi is an item at the top of the AAP agenda for quite long.

Members of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc need not quarrel with the AAP for the guarantees as they gel with the tone of the ideologies of these parties who find themselves mostly on the centre-left of the Indian political spectrum. It can be interpreted as an attempt by Mr Kejriwal to present himself as the prime ministerial candidate though the real numbers would not permit, at least for now, him to throw down the gauntlet. AAP today is a national party but its presence is limited to a handful of states and the number of members the party will be able to send to the Lok Sabha even if there is an I.N.D.I.A. bloc surge would be too insignificant for him to become a challenger.

Electioneering for the 18th Lok Sabha undoubtedly started with Prime Minister Modi and the NDA going to the town with ‘Modi’s guarantees’. There was no specific list but the Prime Minister, drawing from his experience of having ruled the country for 10 long years, offered custom-made guarantees to each state while the offer of taking India to the third position among the big economies and to make India a developed nation by 2027 were recurring items. As the campaign went on, Mr Modi’s guarantees changed tack, from a positive list of ‘dos’ to a negative list of ‘don’ts’. 

The Prime Minister produced a fresh list on Sunday while speaking in West Bengal: no reservation on the basis of religion; no to abolition of SC, ST and OBC reservations; no stoppage of worship of Lord Ram and celebration of Ram Navami, no change in the Supreme Court’s verdict on Ram Mandir and no to the repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Act.

Mr Kejriwal released his list of guarantees at a time when voters in more than half of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies have voted. It will be in the interest of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc not to lose more time and build a narrative on its plans based on the guarantees and other promises for the future should it come to power in the elections. 

 

Tags: arvind kejriwal, 2024 lok sabha elections, kejriwal’s guarantees