6th October 2016 , Vivek Sharma,New Delhi. Praja Foundation, a non-partisan organisation working towards enabling accountable governance, has released its first annual report card of the performance of MLAs’ (Members of Legislative Assembly) of the Delhi State Assembly. In his opening remarks, Nitai Mehta, founding trustee, Praja Foundation says: “As far as Praja is concerned it is the first time we are doing a report card of the elected representatives of an entire state; while, in Mumbai, since 2011, we have been doing this evaluation for the city’s MLAs.”
Mehta continues, “Last year, Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) massive win reflected an intense desire for change from old politics perceived to be incompetent, corrupt and which lacked accountability. But now, the key question is: Has AAP lived up to the expectations of the people of Delhi?”
Milind Mhaske, Project Director of the Foundation adds: “Delhi in itself has a rather complex, multi-layered Governance system – consisting of three Municipal Corporations, the State Assembly, DDA (Delhi Development Authority) and the Central Government – all playing an important and often overlapping roles in the Governing of Delhi.”
A glance at the data from the previous year reveals that this is not the case:
· 33% MLAs have hardly participated in deliberations. 3 MLAs (Raghuvinder Shokeen representing Nangloi Jat, Prakash representing Deoli (SC) & Mohd. Ishraque representing Seelampur) have not raised a single issue in the assembly in 2015 and there are 16 MLAs who have raised only 1 to 5 issues.
· While there were 150,885 complaints registered for water supply, there were only 33 issues raised by MLAs
· While there were 19,327 citizen complaints on ‘drainage chokes, blockages & cleaning and overflowing manholes’ only 5 issues were raised by our city’s MLAs in 2015
· Or even in the case of ‘Mosquito Nuisance & Fogging’ – where there were 10,102 complaints, there were no issues raised by any MLA across the previous year.
· While there were 1092 complaints on Fire Brigade & related issues, only four issues were raised by MLAs in 2015.
Mhaske further elaborates on this point: “The cornerstone on which the new government was elected by the citizens of Delhi was clean politics; unfortunately this is not being reflected in the current state of governance in the city. For example, 20 out of 58 MLAs ranked (in this report card) have criminal records, the worrying part is that 14 (including 4 MLAs who had FIRs registered against them from before the elections) of them have got this record after getting elected. The MLAs are defenders of the constitution and the fact is that they must not resort to the use of extra-legal methods.”
In conclusion, Mehta comments: “People of Delhi voted for change, however, our data clearly reflects that AAP – instead of showing ‘difference’ or ‘change’ is actually being plagued down by the same issues like the other political establishments. Hence, one can now only hope that for the people of Delhi and more importantly for Good Governance in Delhi that AAP can reset itself so as not to go down the same line as others have. The failure of this would be a crushing of hope for all Indians who believe in a new form of democratic process in India.”