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On Monday, when Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal addressed the Delhi Assembly, his speech indicated how the AAP government’s priorities have changed ever since it assumed power. Every budget session begins with the L-G’s address to the Assembly, which typically presents the government’s report card so far, as well as its vision going forward. On Monday, Baijal’s address largely revolved around the AAP government’s development and welfare work — a far cry from former L-G Najeeb Jung’s first address on January 6, 2014, which focused on getting rid of red beacons and security cover for VIPs. This was when AAP had come to power for 49 days.
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Baijal said the core issues were providing 20 kilolitres of free water per month, reduced electricity tariff, an improved education system and inclusive healthcare, with the poor getting free medicines and treatment at mohalla clinics. Other issues Baijal touched upon were a sewage treatment plant to clean the Yamuna, increase in minimum wages and pension, more night shelters and skill centres, focus on solar energy, and resettlement housing for JJ slum dwellers. On the issue of women’s safety, the address only made a mention of deployment of marshals in DTC buses.
Apart from VIP culture, Jung’s first address had focused on bridging the gap between citizens and the government, regular jobs for contractual workers and women’s security. When the L-G addressed the Assembly on February 24, 2015, after the AAP government came to power for the second time, the impetus was on rooting out corruption. Jung spoke about transparency, establishing a Jan Lokpal to probe corruption cases, protecting whistleblowers from harassment and making DDA, MCD and Delhi Police accountable to the elected government.
By March 22, 2016, the focus had shifted to education, better infrastructure, construction of schools, prevention of arbitrary fee hike and transparency in the admission process. Announcements were also made to set up 1,000 mohalla clinics, expansion of flyovers and augmenting DTC fleet by 1,000 buses.
That there is a thaw in the relationship between the L-G and the Delhi government could be seen when Water Minister Kapil Mishra gave the vote of thanks on Monday. “Tum aa gaye ho, noor aa gaya hai. Nahi to chiragon se lau jaa rahi thi… Our decisions are now seeing the light of day as projects like mohalla clinics are reaching people,” Mishra said.