From VIP Culture to People's Power

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has turned down the two adjacent five-bedroom duplex houses that had been identified for his residence and office. As a result, the government has embarked on another house hunt as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief wants a smaller accommodation, one that is more austere and ordinary. That the AAP government is serious to do away with the VIP cultudemonstratedtrated by the fact the its CM and ministerial colleagues have refused private security officers and red beacons on their cars. Even during the day when the new government was sworn in, Kejriwal led the others by travelling by public transport (Metro) to get to the Ramlila Ground. And what is refreshing to know is that the CM himself continues to use his blue Wagon R for even his official duty.

It may be mentioned that the AAP had promised to do away with the VIP culture that is prevalent in Indian politics and governance structure. Now that it has come to power in Delhi, the AAP has to walk the talk by changing and undoing this culture and to identify itself with the common people. And the new CM of Delhi and his Ministers are doing this by demonstrating that it is indeed possible to forego the trappings of power. Yes, its early days for the AAP government and there is certainly huge public expectation that it will deliver where others before failed.

The other aspect of doing away with the prevalent VIP culture is to provide a corruption free government. Unlike the traditional political parties, who give more of lip service, here too, the AAP has a plan of action. All of us are well aware that the AAP was formed on an anti corruption plank. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal did not waste time to announce, at the swearing-in ceremony itself, that an anti-bribery helpline would be opened. The newly appointed CM asked people to 'trap the corrupt' and call on the number to be provided. Once this helpline is launched, people can expect redressal, including investigations and punishment for the guilty.

Can we in Nagaland take similar action to fight corruption? Its unlikely that our leaders, who profess to be Christians, will show the  courage and will as done by the AAP under Kejriwal's leadership. In a resource deficit State like Nagaland, the first thing that our elected leaders would usually do, is to indulge in wasteful spendings like buying the latest and most expensive vehicles or lobbying for plumb portfolios. The AAP on the other hand, immediately after government formation, announced the implementation of its key poll manifesto such as providing free drinking water and subsidised power. It is concerned more with issues of the common people and not with privilege and power. The new government has also announced it will launch a public grievance redressal system. The new CM wants all ministers and their officials to sit outside the secretariat, on the road and lend their collective ear to the public.

Arvind Kejriwal is a CM without an official house, yet his priorities are not about security for himself, power and privileges or even the comfort of a home but fighting corruption and providing good governance to the people. This should be a lesson for many of our CMs ruling in different States. Politics will perhaps never be the same again. The rules are changing. It is not about powerful politicians anymore but the empowering of the common people. The French General and politician, Charles de Gaulle was right when he said that politics was too serious a matter to be left to the politicians. Indeed its time for the aam aadmi-common people to come to the fore and the old politics symbolized by the VIP culture to end.
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