The Aam Aadmi Party’s national manifesto released on Thursday seemed to be an extension of its Delhi Assembly manifesto — from the Jan Lokpal Bill to decentralising power to mohalla and gram sabhas, rolling back the four-year undergraduate progamme in Delhi University and emphasis on vocational training.
Addressing the media, AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal reiterated that corruption remained the primary issue in its manifesto. “Corruption is the biggest issue and we plan to make the country corruption-free through four steps: passing of the Jan Lokpal Bill which will have everyone from the peon to the President under its ambit, use of technology to bring about transparency and reduce corruption, simplification of government procedures and decentralisation of political power,” he said.
Following the call for police reforms during its 49-day government in Delhi, the AAP also announced a series of steps it would take to ensure “humane and accountable policing”. “All custody will be judicial, and any interrogation will be done in judicial custody. Refusal to register an FIR by any police personnel to be made a criminal offence,” the manifesto said. It added “all public interaction areas of a police station” and interrogation by investigation officers of the accused would be videographed.
The party also proposed that the minimum age for contesting elections should be reduced from 25 years to 21 years. “If people can cast vote and get married at the age of 21, why can’t they become an MLA?” it said.
The party has devoted a section of its manifesto to “media policy”. Expressing concern over the “increasing allegations” of paid news, Kejriwal said, “There is a need for transparency in the media — in the financial and political sphere.”
Calling for public announcement of the editors’ association with political parties and corporate groups, he said, “Self regulation has not worked. A discussion with all stakeholders is needed to come out with a procedure for bringing about accountability.”
Elaborating on the mohalla and gram sabhas, Kejriwal said, “Government will give them untied funds. The management of schools and primary healthcare facilities will come under them… People can vote and decide how funds of the mohalla sabha are to be utilised… A government official working in the area will be answerable to the mohalla or gram sabha. No contractor will be paid till the mohalla sabha approves work done by him.”
He said the party was “pro-business”, but was against crony capitalism.