AMAN KUMAR | 16 MARCH, 2019
‘A corruption-free India is not our demand but our insistence. Victory to Hind!’
November 2012 Branching off from the city-centric India Against Corruption movement led by social activist Anna Hazare, the Aam Aadmi Party is formed, led by former tax commissioner Arvind Kejriwal, advocates Prashant and Shanti Bhushan, political scientist Yogendra Yadav and supported by many prominent members of urban civil society.
Perhaps its name derives from two slogans of the Sheila Dikshit era, “Congress ka haath aap ke saath, Congress ka haath aam aadmi ke saath” – The Congress hand is with you, the Congress hand is with the common man.
The First Election
July 2013 Najeeb Jung, a former IAS officer and Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University, is appointed Lieutenant-Governor.
Jung resigned from the IAS when he was a joint secretary in the Petroleum Ministry, and joined Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries soon after, going on to head operations at the company’s New Delhi office. Before becoming Jamia’s VC Jung was part of the Observer Research Foundation, which is also known to have received funding from Reliance.
December 2013 AAP wins 28 of 70 seats in Delhi’s legislative assembly, coming second to the BJP with 31. Its debut vote share of 29.5% comes primarily at the expense of the Congress, which shrinks from 40% to 25%, but also of the Bahujan Samaj Party, which drops from 14% to 5%.
Voter turnout in Delhi increases from 58% to 66%. In the New Delhi constituency Kejriwal defeats former chief minister Sheila Dikshit by over 25,000 or a third of the votes cast.
Combating the steep increase in household water and electricity tariffs was AAP’s main election plank, as signalled by a 14-day fast by Kejriwal to pressure CM Dikshit. In its campaign AAP also boasts of crowdfunding party expenses, rather than relying on large donations, and creating 70 manifestos, one for each assembly seat in the National Capital Territory.
The 48 Day Government
January 2014 After a public consultation exercise AAP forms a minority government with outside support from the Congress. “Fulfil your promises,” Dikshit tells Kejriwal, “for we know how difficult it is to fulfil them.”
Power tariffs are cut in half and an audit of Delhi’s power distribution companies begins. Households consuming less than a certain amount of water are offered it free, and residents of slums are offered free water in tankers.
Around midnight on the 16th, Law Minister Somnath Bharti arrives at South Delhi’s Khirki Extension demanding that police “raid” the residences of some locals he says are running drugs and prostitution rackets. The Delhi Police, controlled by the central government, refuses to oblige without a warrant.
A group of Ugandan Delhiites tell the press that Bharti led a mob which surrounded their car as they were returning home. The mob beat them, forced one of them to urinate in public, and later forcibly took them to a private hospital where they were made to provide urine samples and were cavity searched, to prove they hadn’t consumed drugs.
Soon after, CM Kejriwal launches a dharna demanding that control of the Delhi Police be handed to the state government.
February 2014 AAP leaders led by Prashant Bhushan accuse Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries of having run the UPA government for ten years, of massively depriving the exchequer in its natural gas exploitation business, and of round-tripping money out of and back into India as FDI.
After another round of public consultations with voters, AAP announces that as it has failed to pass the Jan Lokpal Bill through the Delhi Assembly – this bill was also the main demand of India Against Corruption – it will dissolve the legislature and seek a fresh mandate. President’s Rule is imposed.
Gujarat ka Lalla Crowned King
The Bharatiya Janata Party is elected to the Centre in May 2014. AAP, which contested from 400 seats across India, wins four – all of them in Punjab, where the Congress loses 5 seats and the BJP gains one.
The BJP also sweeps all seven seats in Delhi. In terms of vote share AAP comes in second, with 33% to the BJP’s 46.
A Union of States
February 2015 AAP is reelected to the Delhi Assembly with 67 seats out of 70 and a vote share of 54%. The BJP wins the remaining three seats – Rohini, Vishwas Nagar and Mustafabad – with a third of the vote share overall.
March 2015 In its first budget the share of education in the state government’s expenditure is doubled, and education comes to account for a quarter of the total. Programmes are initiated for government schools in Delhi to have summer schools, libraries, improved teacher training and infrastructure, and other initiatives lauded by educationists in the press.
April 2015 Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha are expelled from AAP for “gross indiscipline and anti-party activities”. Yadav and Bhushan say they were opposing Kejriwal’s “dictatorial ways” in policymaking, administration and ticket distribution. They will later form the Swaraj India party.
May 2015 CM Kejriwal demands that files relating to police, land and public order be sent to him, but Lt Gov Jung says he isn’t required to do so. Jung also annuls all civil service postings made by the elected government, claiming final say in appointments and transfers.
June 2015 Lt Gov Jung appoints IAS officer Shakuntala Gamlin the “acting chief secretary” of Delhi. CM Kejriwal accuses Gamlin of lobbying for power companies. Jung also rejects the appointment of five Bihar Police officers to the Delhi Police’s Anti-Corruption Branch.
December 2015 The Central Bureau of Investigation raids the chief minister’s office. Civil service officials in his administration go on mass leave.
January 2016 Owing to rising air pollution and toxicity, the odd-even rationing rule is implemented for a fortnight in January and again in April. Despite documented success the policy is eventually abandoned, largely under pressure from industry and the ten percent of Delhiites who own cars.
February 2016 Delhi’s only Bus Rapid Transit or BRT corridor is dismantled by the AAP government, after an 8-year run. Planning begins for new and improved BRT corridors primarily in East Delhi.
April 2016 The AAP government opens 100 mohalla or neighbourhood clinics on a pilot basis. Each is meant to serve 10,000 people as a replacement for what used to be primary health centres or PHCs funded by the central government, being the first point of contact for medical care, or for referral to larger institutions.
According to media reports and public audits free medicines and diagnostic testing are widely available at these clinics, which also cut down patients’ time and expense travelling to larger, more crowded hospitals.
June 2016 Lt Gov Jung approves the filing of FIRs by the Anti-Corruption Branch against CM Kejriwal and former CM Dikshit.
July 2016 The CBI arrests CM Kejriwal’s personal secretary Rajendra Kumar on allegations of corruption. Two AAP MLAs, Amanutullah Khan (Okhla) and Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli) are arrested the same day, the latter by Punjab Police on charges of desecrating the Quran.
Khan’s accuser, who alleged he threatened her with rape for complaining about the power supply in her area, later purportedly admits in a sting that she was pressured by the Delhi Police into making the allegations.
These arrests follow a string of arrests of AAP legislators, 12 in all, on various charges over the past year. Most charges are found to be without merit, but Somnath Bharti is booked for domestic violence, Jitendra Tomar is found to have faked his law degree, and Sharad Chauhan is accused of abetting the suicide of an AAP party worker.
August 2016 Hearing a case filed by the Delhi government the Delhi High Court rules that the Lieutenant-Governor appointed by the Centre remains the NCT’s administrative head, and is not bound by the advice of the elected government’s council of ministers, effectively rendering elections meaningless in the NCT.
December 2016 Najeeb Jung unexpectedly resigns as Lieutenant-Governor, and is replaced by former IAS officer Anil Baijal.
March 2017 AAP declares assets of Rs.60 lakh to the Election Commission of India. It declares donations in the prior financial year totalling Rs.25 crore, from nearly 4000 donors. The largest donations are from the Satya Electoral Trust (1 crore), Priya Goyal from Bangalore (50 lakh) and TDI Infratech Limited (25 lakh).
For the same year the Congress declares donations totalling Rs.42 crore from 600 donors, and the BJP Rs.532 crore from 2000.
April 2017 The BJP wins its third consecutive term governing the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. AAP comes in second with 47 corporators out of 271 – again at the expense of the Congress, whose tally drops by 47, and the BSP which goes from seven to none.
February 2018 Nine advisors to the state government are dismissed by Lt Gov Baijal following a notification from the Union Home Ministry. These include Atishi Marlena, generally acknowledged to be behind the educational reforms in Delhi’s public schools. AAP will later announce Marlena’s candidature from East Delhi for the 2019 general election.
March 2018 Ridership on the Delhi Metro declines to near-unprecedented levels after two successive fare hikes in a year. More will follow. The AAP government rails against the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation in public but reports suggest it did nothing in its power to prevent the fare hikes by the DMRC.
July 2018 A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court rules that Delhi’s Lieutenant-Governor is in fact bound by the aid and advice of the council of ministers, except in matters relating to police, land, and law and order. But the Centre holds that this does not include control of services, i.e. of civil servants working for the Delhi government.
July 2018 Three sisters aged 2, 4 and 8 are found dead in their home in Mandawali, East Delhi. They starved to death. In due course the AAP government announces doorstep delivery of PDS rations and other services – to those with cards – and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia announces the discovery of thriving corruption in the centrally sponsored Integrated Child Development Services’ anganwadi kitchens and childcare centres.
September 2018 Former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and former Norwegian PM Gro Harlem Brundtland visit mohalla clinics and polyclinics in Delhi as part of their work for The Elders, an organisation founded by Nelson Mandela to work for peace, justice and human rights, and pronounce themselves “deeply impressed”.
February 2019 A two-judge bench of the Supreme Court splits on whether it’s the Centre or state that controls the appointments and transfers of civil servants in Delhi, and refers the question to a larger bench.
A Tale of Two Budgets
Below are the amounts allocated by the Delhi government to various sectors in 2014-15, by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley when Delhi was under President’s rule, and in 2018-19 by Finance Minister Manish Sisodia. The figures are outlays and not the actual expenditure, and haven’t been adjusted for four years’ inflation.
As you can see the priority sectors for both governments were the same, being transport - general education - medical care - water supply and sanitation - urban development - and social welfare.
The sectors which saw the largest increase in allocations were - agriculture and allied services 720% - labour and labour welfare 362% - sports and youth services 328% - general education 163% - public health 135% - and women and child development 128%.
The largest decreases were seen in industries at 84% - energy 80% - housing and jails, 75% each - and schemes sponsored by the central government, at 98%.
Finally, here’s a snapshot of Delhi’s economy during the same period, as measured by the gross state domestic product:
Source: CSO, PRS Legislative Research
Delhi government budget estimates of plan expenditure 2014-15
Rural development ₹218 crore
Minor irrigation and flood control 82
Science, technology and environment 65
Secretariat economic services 2
Civil supply 35
General education 2,060
Technical education 309
Art and culture 77
Sports and youth services 36
Public health 257
Water supply and sanitation 2,000
Urban development 1,662
Welfare of SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities 340
Labour and labour welfare 99
Social welfare 754
Women and child development 470
Public works 159
Other administrative services 336
Agriculture and allied services 5
Centrally sponsored schemes 1,000
Total ₹17,700 crore
Delhi government budget estimates of plan expenditure 2018-19
Rural development ₹214 crore
Minor irrigation and flood control 90
Science, technology and environment 61
Secretariat economic services 2.1
Civil supply 10
General education 5,414
Technical education 306
Art and culture 145
Sports and youth services 154
Public health 603
Water supply and sanitation 2,350
Urban development 2,984
Welfare of SC/ ST/ OBC/ Minorities 355
Labour and labour welfare 457
Social welfare 1,391
Women and child development 1,073
Public works 154
Other administrative services 235
Agriculture and allied services 41
Centrally sponsored schemes 19
Total ₹22,000 crore
Percent change in outlays, unadjusted for inflation
Rural development –1.8%
Minor irrigation and flood control 10%
Science, technology and environment –6%
Secretariat economic services 5%
Civil supply –71%
General education 163%
Technical education –1%
Art and culture 88%
Sports and youth services 328%
Public health 135%
Water supply and sanitation 18%
Urban development 80%
Welfare of SC/ST/OBC/Minorities 4%
Labour and labour welfare 362%
Social welfare 84%
Women and child development 128%
Public works –3%
Other administrative services –30%
Agriculture and allied services 720%
Centrally sponsored schemes –98%