New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) Gearing up for the next Assembly polls in Delhi, the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been running a unique initiative called “Jan Samvad Yatra” to reach out to the public where its Delhi unit chief and Minister Gopal Rai is present on the stage, not as the speaker, but as audience.
“We don’t give a speech or address the public from the stage. We only ask questions from the stage and it is the public who speak and share their experience about what they like or dislike about the various schemes of the Aam Aadmi Party. This is a unique way of reaching out to people,” Rai told IANS.
The “Jan Samvad Yatra” campaign was started by Rai on September 1 and will end on October 3.
He said that, as of now, people have not highlighted any major issues with the AAP apart from some minor local issues.
“People are happy with AAP and its government. The only issues they raise are local and minor issues like road and traffic. I cannot recall anyone listing any major issue with the party or the government,” Rai said.
As per the campaign plan, Rai visits two Assembly constituencies daily.
“There has been enthusiastic participation of the people in these meetings.”
Sharing the format of these interactions, he said, “Usually in political campaigns, leaders will speak from the stage while people listen. But the Jan Samvad Yatra is an open platform where the issues in people’s minds will be discussed along with various development works done by the AAP government.”
He said mainly 11 questions were discussed in the meeting.
“What works were done by the three Chief Ministers of the BJP during 1993-1998?; What works were done by the Sheila Dikshit government during 1998-2013 for the people?; What are the works done by the Arvind Kejriwal government in the last four years?; Who did the maximum good work for the people of Delhi among the three Chief Ministers of the BJP in five years, one Congress Chief Minister of 15 years and nearly five years of Arvind Kejriwal?”
Rai said he also asks the people if the protest by the BJP leaders against the free electricity and water schemes in Delhi by the AAP government “is correct”.
“If Arvind Kejriwal was not made the Chief Minister in 2013, would the development works — in Education, Health and infrastructure (Water and Electricity) been possible?; If Arvind Kejriwal doesn’t become the Chief Minister after the next Assembly elections, will all the development works initiated by the present government continue or not? What is the opinion of people, on having one-party rule in the Centre, State and MCDs? Will it reduce conflicts?; What is the status of the development works in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana where the BJP rules both the Centre and State? Do people want the situation of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana to be replicated in Delhi?; Does the BJP and Congress have a Chief Minister face against Arvind Kejriwal?; and how many of you want to see Arvind Kejriwal become the Chief Minister of Delhi again?”
Rai said such a method was never adopted by any party before. When asked where did the party get this idea from, he said: “We used to have ‘Seedhi Baat’ (Straight talk) with the public at the Assembly level. It used to be a small gathering. The basic idea was from that and we worked on it to improve it.”
“The positivity can be seen in the public. They are happy with the government.”
Rai said the interaction is addressing most of the dilemmas of the people.
“In just a span of two hours, people get a glimpse of the work done by the AAP, BJP and Congress. This also gives people a reason and topic to discuss the government and the three parties.”
He said this is the first such experiment and after October 3 the party will get the feedback.
When asked if other leaders, including Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia, too, will take part in the campaign, Rai said “the party may have them in the campaign. But there is no such plan as of now. First, we will have the feedback and based on that we will see how we should take it forward.”
Delhi will go to the polls in a few months time as the tenure of the Kejriwal government will end in February 2020.
(Nivedita Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)