Sunainaa Chadha

Days after the Aam Admi Party set up a government in Delhi, gave subsidies to the people and dissolved the government, the party seems to be coming out with a broad idea of its economic ideals.

Aam Aadmi Party leader Yogendra Yadav today spoke at an investor conference in Mumbai and also to CNBC-TV18 about the party’s principles, in what looked like an attempt to communicate to the markets, which have been worried about the prospects of an influence of the AAP‘s policies on the next government.

Yogendra Yadav. PTI

Yogendra Yadav. PTI

Most importantly (and ironically too), Yadav shunned the idea of subsidies saying they were are not an economic principle but just a method. The government must create an economic situation where subsidies are not required, he said in the interview to CNBC-TV18.

“Food subsidies should not be provided. Giving food directly to the person concerned is the most inefficient and expensive manner of serving the poor,” the AAP leader said the IIFL investor conference.

“The way to service the disadvantaged is not to even out poverty, social justice is about uplifting everyone by unleashing growth, encouraging manufacturing, good business practices and catching hold of the corrupt,” he said.

He also said that India needs a political environment entrepreneurs can grow and do business easily. “AAP stands for a renewed idea of India.”

However, he did not give out an economic policy but said the party stands for certain principles like clean politics, pro-business deregulation, non-interference of the state and not to serve the interests of crony capitalists. The party’s  economic policy will be structured on these.

“India does not need to follow any established pre-packaged solution but rather move to something that is tailor-made to suit India’s needs,” he said

Talking about AAP’s economic policies, Yadav said the party does not want to go back to the policies of 70s and 80s.  “It makes no economic sense to replicate 70s and 80s’ Socialistic policies now,” he told CNBC-TV18.

He said Prashant Bhushan‘s comments on nationalisation of private entities were not as reported in the  media. Yadav said the AAP opposes private monopoly of natural resources and that nationalisation reported in the media is a ‘ridiculous’ concept.

Yadav takes on Modi and UPA

Yadav further said that the UPA government has failed to keep fiscal deficit under check.  “FM’s claims about fiscal deficit is just clever maths,” he said, adding that today the people are disgusted with the ruling establishment and just want to go, but clarified that AAP was not anti-establishment but rather wants to fine-tune the existing establishment in a manner to provide both growth and social justice.

When asked about AAP’s Prime Ministerial candidate for Lok Sabha elections, Yadav said, “Arvind Kejriwal is our clear leader for Lok Sabha polls, no two ways about it.”

On AAP’s policies in Delhi, Yadav said the party was misunderstood on electricity for the party’s mandate was not to subsidise electricity because it was expensive but rather to have an honest audit of electricity rates. “Our manifesto said whatever comes from an honest audit is acceptable to us. Evidence collected from DERC office showed that price mechanism had been fudged. Also the 50 percent reduction in power tariff was only an interim relief pending the final audit”

On AAP’s water policy, he said “Real reform in water means transparency in water metres, extension of pipes and ending the tank mafia.. not just providing 700 litres of water free to the people” he said at the conference.

Moreover, taking on BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Yadav said it is important to detach strong leadership from semi-authoritarianism.

“India needs a leader who is corrigible and consultative and follows the processes rather than someone who bypasses responsiveness and procedures,” Yadav said.

When asked about vote-bank politics, Yadav categorically maintained that AAP is anti-caste and religious politics, even though it has cost the party several votes.

“We have two tickets to Muslims in two particular constituencies when we were advised not to. Though we lost in both as a matter of principle we will not indulge in vote-bank politics, Yadav said at the conference.

Also in an attempt to woo investors with the promise of ‘clean politics and ‘honest business, Yadav said investor confidence and support is key to the party as “AAP is the only political organisation that is running campaigns solely with white money”.


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