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One month of Arvind Kejriwal's government: Five hits and five misses

One month of Arvind Kejriwal's government: Five hits and five misses
New Delhi Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) today completes a month in power in Delhi and the review is mixed. The one-year-old party's unconventional style of governance has captured the imagination of many Indians, but the inexperience that seemed refreshing at first threatens to become the party's worst enemy. Rate its performance
Reviewing the Kejriwal government in Delhi
  • Hit: Arvind Kejriwal announced a Rs 220 crore subsidy to slash the consumer's power bill by half for up to 400 units, and an audit of discoms, or power distribution companies. The government also announced 20 kilolitres of free water a month to homes with metred connections. But consumers will be charged 10% more if they exceed the limit. (Arvind Kejriwal keeps his power promise; 50% tariff cut for usage upto 400 units )
  • Miss: The government scrapped Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, shutting the doors to global retail chains like Walmart and Tesco. The industry, including AAP member GR Gopinath, called the move regressive and populist. A move to conduct regular "Janata Durbars" or public hearings with ministers backfired due to mismanagement. (Arvind Kejriwal pulls the plug on FDI in retail stores in Delhi)
  • Hit: The government's anti-graft helpline asks callers to report and conduct sting operations against corrupt officials. AAP claims the helpline received about one lakh calls in 20 days, but only 1,200 were considered serious enough to process. (Arvind Kejriwal announces anti-corruption helpline)
  • Miss: Mr Kejriwal is facing strong demands for his Law Minister Somnath Bharti's sacking over his vigilante-style raid on an alleged sex and drugs ring in his constituency that targeted African nationals. Seven Ugandan women have filed complaints alleging they were attacked and molested by men led by Mr Bharti. (Sack 'racist' Somnath Bharti: Open letter to Arvind Kejriwal)
  • Hit: Mr Kejriwal and his ministers stood by their pledge to banish "VIP culture", and shunned its most blatant symbols like big bungalows, heavy security and vehicles with beacons or lal battis.
  • Miss: AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny embarrassed the party and went against its avowed principles as he went public with his resentment at what he called the Kejriwal government's failures. The party accused him of sulking over a cabinet berth and on Monday, expelled him. (AAP expels rebel legislator Vinod Kumar Binny)
  • Hit: The government has announced a school helpline for parents, conducted surprise checks on schools and hospitals and invited public suggestions on email. The Chief Minister ordered that porta cabins and unused buses would be used as night shelters for the homeless.
  • Miss: The Chief Minister's 33-hour protest against Delhi Police in the heart of the city was seen as an act of arrogance and unusual defiance by a constitutional authority. Mr Kejriwal ended the protest, which he described as a fight for women's safety, after a promise of action against police officers that had refused to make arrests on the orders of his ministers Somnath Bharti and Rakhi Birla.  
  • Hit: Riding on massive popular support in Delhi, AAP has set its sights on the national election. The party claims it has gained one crore members in a nationwide drive "Main Bhi Aam Aadmi", which urged people to register online, through phone messages or email.
  • Miss: The party admits that many of its newfound members could be fake, as the online drive failed to sift the genuine applicants from pranksters. Donations to AAP from the NRI community have dropped by half, a sign of disillusionment with the party. ('Narendra Modi', 'Rahul Gandhi' now Aam Aadmi Party members. Here's how)
Story First Published: January 28, 2014 09:48 IST

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