When I heard of it, I wasn’t sure why AAP, a party known for novel antics, should repeat one so soon. I am told it is not for lack of ideas, but absence of sound ideas. A handpicked AAP team met to brainstorm the various ways the Odd-Even could be repeated afresh. Says my source, a usually reliable guy who often has genuine inside dope on such stuff. Here is what he told me of what transpired at the AAP conclave:
Arvind Kejriwal (AK): Comrades, this is not the best of times that we meet in. We have always been in the news, even when we were being lambasted by the likes of Arnab Goswamy or Modi. But because of elections in all these states, no newspaper or TV channel is talking about us. We need to get back the headlines. Today, we have to finalise a plan to recapture our space in the media.
Ashutosh: I know what we should be doing. Let’s do the Odd-Even again. It was a great success the 1st time, let’s make it an even bigger success this time.
AK: What crap? Do you know how much I have struggled before switching over from my Wagon R to the Innova? And you want me to squeeze into another car with you guys? No way, I will go on a holiday when the next Odd-Even starts.
Ashutosh: Look at it this way… the 1st time we did it, we were copying what many other cities in the world had done. But none has repeated this within such a short period of time. This will be revolutionary. Ek dum krantikari. Forget Times Now, you would feature in National Geographic.
AK: You have a point there. AAP stands for innovation in politics. Only, this time we will do it differently. But how?
Imran Hussain (IH): Let’s have male & female drivers on alternate days. This will definitely be different & the media will be too busy dissecting the sociology to criticize us.
Satyendra Jain (SJ): I like this idea. If its only women who drive on alternate days, the incidence of rapes would reduce drastically on those days. On other days, they would be driven by male acquaintances & again incidence of rape go down. We should definitely do this.
Gopal Rai (GR): Don’t you know how women drive? Imagine if we only have women drivers on the road for a day. Can you even imagine the no. of accidents that may take place? The cops will get no time to collect challans from violators of Odd-Even, they will be so busy handling accidents.
Alka Lamba (AL): What do you mean? If you study the data, no. of accidents caused by men are much more than those by women. Women are far safer drivers, it’s the men who just can’t look straight if there’s a woman on the road. I prefer this plan as this would change the way men look at women drivers.
AK: I agree with Gopal. Also, the accidents would lead to traffic jams & we would still be facing the same problem with fewer vehicles. I will ditch this proposal.
Kumar Vishwas (KV): Why not disallow different categories on different days. SUV’s, being the most polluting, can be banned for a couple of days. To encourage carpooling, we can have a carpooling day when vehicles with only one person inside will not be allowed on the roads.
Ashutosh: That’s really great. We can also have specific days when luxury cars are kept off the roads. Why should it be only the poor that should suffer. After all, we represent the aam admi. Kumar, this is very krantikari.
Manish Sisodia (MS): Ashutosh, you are not on a TV panel discussion. Speak only when you have something worthwhile to tell. With such a complicated plan, who will remember what vehicle is allowed on a particular day? What if one of our leaders is caught in the wrong vehicle? It would be a big controversy & Arnab will be shouting about it the whole week. Modi will mention it in his rallies for rest of the year.
AL: I can handle Arnab very well, but you send only Raghav or Ashutosh on TV.
Manish Sisodia (MS): We will need to publish a timetable & put it up on hoardings all over the city. Where will we put our pictures then?
AL: If you don’t like this suggestion, I have another one. This does not even involve prohibiting vehicles on the road.
MS: I am not sure about it, but still curious enough to know what you can think of. It has been a depressing period since the state elections were announced. It has been days since I even smiled.
AL: We should organize Dharna’s all over Delhi, at different locations on different days. This will keep the vehicles off the roads, voluntarily. And we will be back in news. There are so many issues that we can rake up.
Mayank Gandhi (MG): Dharna is not something that we do at the drop of a hat. It is a very potent weapon & most effective close to election time.
AK: And I don’t want to sit on a Dharna under the sun during these hot days. I end up with a cough every winter & you want me to suffer heat stroke in summer? But this is a good suggestion & we should definitely use this sometime, in the winter months.
Ashutosh: We should have different working hours for different areas. So, if somewhere the offices begin at 7 AM, they begin at 8 AM, 9 AM and so on, at others. The people in different areas would be going to/returning from work at different times. This would reduce peak traffic by spreading it over a longer duration. We will have a longer but lower peak traffic. This again is so krantikari.
Raghav Chaddha (RC): Krantikari, my foot. This will only end up making people work longer hours, at least in private companies. Do you know of any corporate that likes its employees leaving before 8 PM?
KV: We will make it compulsory for offices to work for only 9 hours. This will take care of any exploitation that Raghav fears.
RC: That’s all on paper, but not practical. Do you think I am fool to quit my career for a life in politics? We will lose the services of all those young volunteers who come to us for respite from their oppressive employers.
AL: Raghav has a valid point. We may also end up losing the votes of these youngsters.
Ashutosh: I have gem of an idea. How about mandating different weekly offs for different areas? With people in different areas having an off from work on separate days, this will automatically reduce the no. of vehicles on the road. We can call Delhi, a city of week-long weekend.
GR: What happens to those whose spouse works in a different areas? They will not be able to discuss household issues for the entire period.
MS: Ashutosh, talk some sense. This is not News Hour on Times Now.
RC: This is unworkable because many companies have multiple offices across Delhi & most have 5 day weeks. No business can have different offices interacting only 3 days a week. They will force the employees to work on weekly off. We need to think about these overworked employees too.
AK: Let us not disturb the weekend from Saturday/Sunday. I am scared to think about the rush on a weekend that happens to be a Friday. How will I manage to get tickets for the 1st day show of new film releases? Do ou know, my followers on Twitter wait for my review of a film before buying the tickets. Whatever you people think of, lands me into trouble. Let us have Odd-Even II. If it succeeds, we can plan for a bigger & better Odd-Even III. If it fails, we can always blame it on Modi.
This brought down the curtains on the discussion. It was unanimously decided to proceed with the tried & tested Odd-Even formula this time round too. But let’s give it to them. They did think of the options, didn’t they?