What does the Aam Aadmi Party’s emphatic win over Delhi’s hearts and minds mean for business? As remarkable as the party’s all-encompassing triumph is, what is also worth observing is its sweeping takeover of traditional BJP bastions — the trader community. From Lajpat Nagar to Sadar Bazar, from Chandni Chowk to Model Town, AAP’s momentum is equal and omnipresent, as it is with low-income, high-income, and middle-income voters.

    In his own words, AAP’s crusading leader Arvind Kejriwal says his mission to erase corruption will make the national capital business- and investment-friendly like never before. Some glimmers of that ambition were evident in his first round as Delhi CM over a year ago, although his inexperience at governance quickly negated the small but significant anti-corruption measures. But clearly, businessmen and traders in Delhi still believe in his ability — over all others — to remove corruption and facilitate business operations.

    On the other side, Kejriwal’s recent rant against e-commerce has also generated significant interest — and now apprehension — among India’s e-tailers, while most also expect him to favour small traders over big business.

    A day after winning Delhi Assembly poll, the AAP has indicated that it could dilute its position on foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail. “We need to keep our doors open and then see how our own entrepreneur flourishes amidst competition,” a senior party person told BusinessLine, indicating a change in the party’s stand on FDI.

    The news reported that while the AAP manifesto for Delhi election 2015 opposed FDI in retail in Delhi, the situation changed from earlier ‘Left’ ideology with more and more youth leaders replacing the old brigade and this would have some impact on its policy. The decision of allowing multinationals to operate multi brand retail stores with FDI is rests with the state government.

    On the overall economic policy, the AAP manifesto had indicated that its focus will be to make Delhi a major industrial and trading hub. The BusinessLine news reported that Senior AAP leader Ashutosh said that the new AAP government will give importance to market forces, but with a rider. “Market economy is the best way for development but we will ensure that we strike a balance between market economy and welfare state,” he said, highlighting the need to provide better amenities to 40 per cent of the Delhi population living in slums.

    Simplifying and lowering VAT in Delhi will be a priority for AAP as it is very high in comparison to Haryana. This has resulted in the migration of industrial and trading activities to the neighbouring State. “Now, there is time to rectify that so that Delhi can become a major industrial and trading hub,” said Ashutosh in the BusinessLine news.

    The manifesto had promised that in five years, Delhi will attempt to have the lowest VAT regime. Ashutosh also said that out of 27 industrial hubs, 20 are defunct and the new government will try to make them active.

    AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal is scheduled to take oath as Chief Minister for the second time this Saturday. One can only hope he remains democratic in his approach towards all businesses, as he himself states in his letter to Delhi’s businessmen, which is reproduced in its entirety below for the benefit of our readers:

    Letter by Arvind Kejriwal to Businessmen

    My Dear Businessmen/Trader Brothers,

    I hail from a business family although my father was a serviceman but most of my relatives from the both sides of my parents are involved in small scale business activities for their livelihood. Hence I’m well aware about circumstances surrounding a businessman.

    Indian businessmen lives in a fearful environment created by different govt. officials and organizations/authorities. Even though a man is running his business without any legal flaws or fraud, he/she is compelled to please those officials by unlawful favors in form of money or gifts.

    Most of the common businessmen are in favor of running their business with honesty and peace except few of those who are involved in fraudulent and illegal activities. There are rules and regulation imposed by government which are practically very hard to attain and as an Ex-Income Tax Commissioner I know how tricky those rules are. These rules and regulation are used as a means to scare common businessmen and extort money from them by those government officials. Helpless Common businessmen lives in fear even after he pays his hard earned money to everyone.

    Business-class is known as a Vote Bank of BJP but has BJP ever solved any of your problems except using you as their Vote Bank during elections ? Is your business flourishing in BJP ruled states without any fear ? From last 15 years Congress is the ruling party in Delhi and in those 15 years has they ever done any thing good for the Businessmen Community? As a matter of fact even a smallest govt. employee can snatch some of your hard earned money from your pocket in Delhi despite of how big businessman you are or how large your business is?

    ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ wants to change this system as we know how hard a businessman works to earn. With that hard earned money he runs his family at the same time he pay tax to the government which helps in development of our Nation. Govt. owes a responsibility to provide business-class a proper place from which they have been deprived off till this date.

    ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ wants to create a system where running a business with honesty is smoothly possible. People should be given their chances to makeover their mistakes in past due to corrupt system that forced them to do so and allow them to carry their business with honesty in future by forgetting their past. And those shall be punished who carry on their foul business even after the rectification of corrupt system. VAT system in Delhi has turned into a nightmare for businessmen hence they usually bribe government officials in order to save themselves. Tax System needs to be simplified.

    Central government wants to bring FDI in retail and they have supported their decision with multiple of reasons. When ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ analyzed those reasons thoroughly, not even a single reason came out promising enough to support their decision. In fact all of them were bunch of lies and it seems like government has taken huge amount of money from those foreign companies to pass FDI in Retail. And slowly a number of evidences are also coming up to firm this allegation.

    ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ strictly oppose FDI in Retail because ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ thinks if FDI will enter into Retail sector then Crores of small scale Indian businessmen will come on road as they will lose their business and so as their livelihood.

    ‘AAM AADMI PARTY’ is dedicated to our Country. We want to change this system but this hypothesis for a change in the system is incomplete without participation of the Business-Class.

    So with all respect I here by invite you to join in this fight for a change in this corrupted system.

    Truly Yours,

    Arvind Kejriwal