In the victory of AAP, a lesson in transformative politics | Opinion – analysis
The extraordinary political process that Delhi has witnessed last month represents both the maturation of the electorate within this “ordinary city” with all its diversity, complexity and peculiarities. With a clear mandate in favor of the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), citizens have affirmed that the problems are important and that their vote has a particular meaning, that it is not subject to identity-based polarization.
Delhi is a city that has been an epitome of the historical aspirations of a post-colonial society, as well as a space for poor immigrants in search of better opportunities. Its assembly is one of the smallest in the country with 70 legislators and has severely truncated powers. Without power over public order, the police and the land, the AAP has tried to leave its mark working in affordable schools, electricity and water. He asked the electorate to judge him for this performance. In a very unequal challenge, his key electoral opponent was the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), armed with a massive national mandate. The key to the BJP was to ask the voters of Delhi to choose between the “Mughal Raj or Modi.”
That AAP victories have been recorded throughout the city, from Chandni Chowk, Rajendra Nagar and New Delhi to the rich areas of southern Delhi with large populations of Punjabi Hindu immigrants, from the unauthorized colonies of Sangam Vihar- Deoli to the surroundings. The almost rural areas of Burari, and much more decisively among the poorest sectors of the population, will be the subject of extensive political study. This is even more important as the AAP mocked the opposition’s accusation that it was distributing gifts among the poor, or that there was more publicity than substance in their educational efforts, or even that it was implicitly aligned with the protesters of Shaheen Bagh.
Three different aspects arise from the victory of the AAP. First, focusing on its city government, the AAP disaggregated the city’s binaries, among its richest and poorest areas. The power subsidy, for example, was far from being a strike for the poor. It touched almost 90% of the city’s population, and most of the benefits went to the less favored. According to the data available with distribution companies, almost 4.8 million received subsidized energy bills in December 2019. The subsidy was organized in such a way that there were cuts in fixed costs, which benefited a series of relatively well-off sections. and those who consumed between 0-200 units received 100% subsidy. In the months of lower demand for electricity (October-December), many households received zero bills, which guarantees a mixed distribution of benefits.
Second, the AAP increased the capacity of the State to develop the capacities of its poor and vulnerable citizens in health, but even more in education. It increased its education spending to more than a quarter of its gross budget expenditure (26%) and provided quality education. I met fathers (mothers) and students, who came from a programmed caste, in the schools of Sangam Vihar. The students enjoyed new facilities such as computer classes, laboratories and sports clubs. His parents had precarious jobs, such as household cleaners, cooks or office staff. Some had lost their jobs. Good quality education builds what anthropologist Arjun Appadurai calls the “ability to aspire” among young people.
Many students said their schools are now cleaned by “aunts” employed for this purpose; previously, students were asked to clean the schools in the morning. A class 9 student told me that the “structure of atoms, molecules and sound” were her favorite subjects. Another student said he loved solving linear equations and wanted to be a scientist. Another student chose Premchand as his favorite writer. There is a learning revolution among the lower class like no other I have seen in the whole world. Mothers talked about the dignity with which they were treated when they were invited to parent-teacher meetings. Political economists in education confirm how difficult it is for politicians around the world to invest in reforms that improve quality; they generally support access-oriented reforms, which involve the creation of new jobs and the construction of buildings. Investments in education, modified school culture and the best results speak of a care ethic. These issues were repeated in efforts to provide clean drinking water and reduce mafia control in the provision of basic services for the poor.
Third, it was the “language policy” that the AAP used to maintain focus on its achievements, even when its adversaries improved the vitriol in their “language of politics.” Protests led by citizens in Shaheen Bagh were the cornerstone of the BJP attacks. His minister Anurag Thakur helped a crowd raise the choir against an imagined set of “desh ke gaddaron“Who should be shot at; a leader called Kejriwal a” terrorist. “The CM was offended to the last, saying his father would be offended by hearing this, as he was raised as a patriot who arrived at the IIT by force of his hard work When the AAP schools were ridiculed, Kejriwal and the party asked that the focus be kept constantly in the “labor policy.” It was an insult to the hard work of the schoolchildren in Delhi, he insisted.
In the end, he focused on the life of the common man, woman and child, which tipped the unequal battle between the Center and this small state in favor of the AAP. The result also requires a change of mentality, which considers that urban policy and development only refer to the provision of infrastructure and construction projects. For Delhi, it was about building networks of trust with citizens, especially in disadvantaged spatial segregations, hitherto invisible to their politics.
Manisha Priyam is an associate professor at the National University of Educational Planning and Administration.
The opinions expressed are personal.