Promises without datelines, yet consumers keep the hope
Certainly, every individual in the country is hoping for and talking about some change. What that change is, is not yet clear though. Whenever a political leader or a manifesto of some party is presented to the common man, he knows that more than half of those promises will not be kept. And he goes out to vote for the one he believes will keep at least a few of them. And if the face of the party seems fresh, the promises are new and largely connect with the common man’s fundamental needs, they sweep away the largest bank of votes.
We all witnessed the phenomenon just about a couple of weeks ago. While cheap power and subsidized cooking gas attracted the homemakers, the smartphone generation went after the free Wi-Fi, promise of more schools and colleges pulled in stressed middleclass parents; slum dwellers were roped in with the promise of houses; for women, ‘safety’ through CCTV remained the buzzword. Above all, the assurance of busting corruption, transparency in policymaking and a ‘we will remain grounded’ approach brought the common man to power in Delhi.
It all seemed so good. Until I read some dozens of articles by supposed experts sharing opinions through various mediums. One even had these strange statistics: 500 schools; 20 colleges; 1,500,000 cameras; 200,000 toilets. So, at an average, a school in every 3.65 days, a college in every 91.25 days, toilet every 13 minutes and a camera every two minutes will make it all happen. The doubt crept in. I questioned myself if I was in a state of denial or I was refusing to see the reality, or was it really the beginning of a phase and that change was waiting to happen.
For a common man to gather uncommon numbers of votes from the common people, some uncommon promises had to be made. Will they all be kept is a question that consumers in this democracy are asking and are keenly watching. Within a month, power subsidy for minimal consumption is back on the bills and talks with Facebook kind of giants are already on for free WiFi, but the list is quite long, days are too less and patience does not come easy. And we are already seeing that the manifesto had missed out on the ‘*conditions apply’ line at the bottom.
So, what am I trying to say? No, I am not highlighting the ‘promises versus capabilities’ argument. I am only trying to present a bird’s eye view of a situation from a consumer’s perspective. When one votes, he expects to ease out the stress from his life. And the primary cause of stress, especially among the poor, is financial stress – the stress to be able to afford basic amenities. The government in Delhi has shaped the confidence that such a stress-free environment is achievable, and to maintain that confidence we must continue to ask questions, keep a close watch on developments, and make our chosen leaders accountable for our every vote.