The problem with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is that they often fall into their own trap. They announce policies, and then follow these up with statements and advertisements that not only sound and appear frivolous and patronising, but also misleading.
The whole Odd-Even formula (which, by the way, many like me supported hugely in round one - so I do write good things about AAP) was launched to cut down air pollution in Delhi. But unfortunately it did not actually work that much. Even Arvind Kejriwal, the Delhi chief minister has admitted as much.
Yes it did cut congestion on the road... but the real beneficiaries were mainly the auto rickshawallahs and cab drivers, two constituencies that AAP has been nurturing for a while now. Their meters clicked up a small fortune in those fifteen days. Did that help or harm Delhi's air quality? No one knows. But did it impact the middle class wallet? Well, we can vouch for that.
In round two, some of the advertisements that promote the Odd-Even plan have been mystifying. They have made it sound completely hassle-free, and a wonderful way of making new friends. Really?
Without proper public transport systems in place, how are the office-goers or the daily commuters expected to reach their destination? And what about those who might have important social engagements?
Perhaps if AAP had insisted that all their ministers, party workers and their families also strictly adhere to the Odd-Even formula, only then would there be a real impact, as the sheer inconvenience would have been measured, and sorted out.
It is precisely this sort of patronising attitude that will makes it tough for AAP to keep its good relations intact with the middle class.
Yesterday I had to take my parents, who are quite elderly, to a cousin's home for lunch. We started from home post noon, and were stuck in a jam near AIIMS for close to twenty minutes. This would be unusual even on normal days, but what was surprising were the large number of trucks on the roads. Where could they have come from? One thought their entry was banned till later in the evening.
Anyway, the worrisome problem was that I could not actually drive my father, or even use his driver, because ours is an even-numbered vehicle and it happened to be an "odd" day. So whilst as a woman driver, I could take my mother as a passenger, I could not drive my 93-year-old father.
It was a bizarre situation, and so ultimately we had to hire a cab.(Interestingly, in this scheme, I have not heard a single word about the elderly who would find it very difficult to use public transport. And you can't throw them into the disabled pool, as age is not a disability.)
Having been a scrupulously honest bureaucrat, my father was reluctant to appear to be breaking a rule. And so we ended up with him in a separate cab, and my mother and me in our car, as she and I had to go somewhere else together, later on. Where we would have normally taken one car, we ended up taking two.
This is thus the strangest part of this Odd-Even formula. Kejriwal, who receives a lot of support from NRIs must be further educated by them about how countries in the West look after their senior citizens. Whenever any scheme is announced, special care is taken about "pensioners" and their rights. Remember, they still have the vote!
They have, after all, given a lot to the country, and now rather than being forced to stay at home on certain days of the week, should be encouraged to go out. In fact, it is not just important, it is essential for their mental and physical well-being.
So when will AAP stop behaving oddly towards the elderly?