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Ram Rajya in Kejriwal’s Delhi

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By Sidharth Mishra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have given the mantra of looking for opportunity in the crisis but its Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who makes the most of it. The present Covid crisis has given him the opportunity to put the blame at the doors of the Centre for the large number of people dying in the city in absence of health care. Even the courts have been convinced, who in turn have issued reprimand to the Centre asking it to help Kejriwal government.

Not going into the merits of the court orders, they did best what they could as governance collapsed, it’s the sheer failure of Modi’s image managers that allows Kejriwal to wriggle himself out from tight situations. So obsessed are Modi’s image managers with their factory of falsehood that most of the time they miss the woods for the trees.

When Covid’s current phase was knocking at the doors of the country and its Capital, city’s Finance Minister Manish Sisodia was presenting a Rs 69,000 crore ‘patriotism’ budget. The highlights of this budget were installation of 500 flag masts and planning programmes on the lives of freedom fighters. There was announcement of ‘Desh Bhakti’ curriculum but nothing to showcase by the way of strengthening the health infrastructure of the city.

Kejriwal knows that he doesn’t need to work beyond planning right optics, as Delhi being the Capital will not be allowed to collapse. Courts would intervene even if the Centre wanted ‘to teach the city’ a lesson. During the budget discussion, Kejriwal had announced his plan for Ram Rajya in the city and send people on free pilgrimage to Ramjanambhoomi. Alas! thousands in the city, thanks to corona surge, have travelled to Moksha Dhams (cremation grounds) without going to Ayodhya.

This Desh Bhakti budget with 'a vision to host Olympics in Delhi in 2048' had remained largely silent on health infrastructure except claiming to allocate ₹50 crore towards providing free COVID-19 vaccination at government hospitals through the Aam Aadmi Free Covid Vaccine scheme and a 100 more Mahila Mohalla Clinics, the tin boxes standing as symbol of our country turning in a tinpot republic.

City’s budget did not stop there, and in its report The Morning Standard, so appropriately headlined, ‘Videhsi Vow in Deshbhakti Push’, had mentioned about Kejriwal saying, “aim for 2047 should be that the per capita income of Delhi is equal to that of Singapore. For that, we will have to increase the per capita income 16-fold, and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that.”

One doesn’t know about any other factor for increasing per capita income but for sure Delhi’s population is going to fall with a few thousands dying and a few lakhs leaving the city for the safety of their lives. Kejriwal’s Ram Rajya is actually very frightening, his callous governance has let loose a trail of death and destruction in the city. 

Before the cheer leaders of Kejriwal condemn this note as an apology for Modi government, let’s say it in unequivocal terms that the Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah this time around has let down the city. Last year his intervention had saved the city from falling into an abyss, what stopped him this year from coming to aid of the citizens was probably his commitments in West Bengal. 

Also not forgetting that country’s health minister Harsh Vardhan is a Lok Sabha member from Delhi, what stopped him from going full-steam ahead, only he would know. Man of proven abilities, Vardhan’s presence in Ministry of Health Affairs should have helped overcome this catastrophe, sadly that has not happened. 

(The writer is Author and President, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice) 

 

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