ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Car Credo

A car-friendly city is a danger to democracy.

In December 2013 when the newly-elected members to the Delhi assembly took oath, some 20-odd legislators amongst them caught one’s eye for doing something Indian politicians rarely do. They took a metro ride to the swearing-in ceremony. The legislators in question were from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). A few other Members of the Legislative Assembly from the party took an autorickshaw ride to Ramlila Maidan, the venue for the swearing-in ceremony. Their detractors dismissed this use of public transport as another of those gimmicks that had catapulted a bunch of anti-corruption activists to the corridors of state power.

What happened in the next year or so is well known. AAP began its second innings in February this year in a much less demonstrative manner. Indeed, the swearing-in ceremony had the fanfare and all the obtrusive trappings of power one associates with mainstream political parties—with traffic advisories asking people to keep away from certain roads. Perhaps they heralded things to come. Five months later, Delhi’s AAP government has announced that it will scrap the Capital’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) System. To be fair, the party had always been unequivocal about its antipathy to the BRT. Its manifesto for the capital’s Greater Kailash area—the party had manifestos for different constituencies—described the system as an “inconvenience” and its legislator from the area, Saurabh Bharadwaj, the transport minister in the first AAP government, had always been against the BRT.

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