By Abdul Bari Masoud,
NEW DELHI: There is not much for the minorities to cheer in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) manifesto for the upcoming Delhi polls that released here on Saturday by its convener and former chief minister Arvind Kejriwal along with other party leaders. Moreover, in his presentation of the manifesto, Kejriwal did not utter a single word about the welfare of Muslim minority which is the second largest religious group in the NCT.
The party released a manifesto along with a 70-point action plan document for betterment of the national capital but both documents have passing reference as far as minorities are concerned. In the Manifesto under the head of ‘Peace, Justice and Equality for Minorities’, mere two paragraphs were devoted for minorities. The party did not promise any specific measures for addressing the backwardness of the Muslim minority. It states that “Aam Admi Party is committed to putting an end to communal tension and riots by ensuring equal rights and security to the communities. We believe that both the communal politics of BJP as well as the vote-bank politics of the Congress need to be opposed and exposed”. It further promises that “We will resolve the issue of inadequate graveyards in Delhi. We will bring transparency in the functioning of Delhi Waqf Board and ensure that encroachments on Waqf property by private parties and the government are removed”.
Another paragraph is on anti-Sikh-riots of 1984, promising of revival of SIT in order to provide justice to victims of Sikh carnage.
In the 70-point Action Plan document only one thing added about the promotion of Urdu language. Point no-68 (under the head of ‘Promoting Punjabi, Sanskrit and Urdu’) states “we will provide second-language status to Urdu and Punjabi. An adequate number of teachers will be employed for teaching Urdu and Punjabi. Research in Urdu and Punjabi shall be encouraged in various Delhi state universities……….”
So there is nothing for the minorities particularly Muslims in the manifesto presented by the Aam Admi Party which talks about the overall-development of the people of Delhi.
When this correspondent raised this issue with the party ideologue Yogendra Yadav, he said the manifesto gave attention towards the Waqf problems. When asked there is nothing any specific promise of affirmative action for Muslim minority in both the documents, he quipped, “We have mentioned Waqf”.
Defending manifesto, party spokesperson Ashutosh told Muslim Mirror that AAP is for inclusive growth as everybody will benefit from the cheap power and water and other developmental schemes. When this correspondent pointed out that while releasing the manifesto, there was not a single minority-face on the dais, he said the Aam Aadmi Party did not indulge in vote-bank politics. “What happened with the Muslim minority in the last 65 years, we all know as the Sachar Committee concluded that Muslims lagged behind even Dalits”. He said if the party comes to power it will ensure all benefits reach to minority communities.
This time, the AAP has come out with a 70-point agenda for the betterment of Delhi. Attacking BJP and Congress equally for the woes of common man in Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal said the manifesto is the Holy document for the party and it will guide their actions in the government. Taking a dig on his rival parties, he claimed that last time what the AAP had promised, his government had successfully done in 49 days. “The other parties do not pay a lot of heed to a manifesto; it is just a piece of document for them and BJP this time is not even release a manifesto”.
Some of the promises made by the AAP include; Delhi Jan Lokpal Bill, reducing electricity bills by half, performance audit of discoms by CAG, providing clean drinking water at an ‘affordable price’.