"A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of the nation, long suppressed, finds utterance." –Jawaharlal Nehru
MDP presidential candidate Mohammed Nasheed (Anni) echoed Nehru's famous 'Tryst with Destiny' speech in the opening of salvo of the Riyaasee Suvaalu debate, which he decisively won according to most viewers.
"There will be moments in a country's life," Anni said, "moments that change the country's situation from one state to another." He then went on to describe the current state where citizens daily face the rising cost of living, where one in five families live in a single room, and where people are forced to beg for health care. Anni then promised to take the country to the shores of Aneh Dhivehi Rajje.
But how would it feel like to live in Aneh Dhivehi Rajje? Anni painted quite a vivid picture of Aneh Dhivehi Rajje in his four brief statements during the debate. Perhaps it was the cohesiveness of this picture that enabled Anni to outscore his rivals, many of who were reputed orators. Here are the main elements of the picture:
- There will be clean government, with no place for authoritarian rule. This will be ensured through a competitive political process in a multiparty environment. Businessmen will not be allowed to pollute the political process.
- In Aneh Dhivehi Rajje, the government will be compassionate and listen to the concerns of the people. It will give priority to address these concerns.
- Reducing the cost of living will be the main thrust of economic policy. In Aneh Dhivehi Rajje, the cost of living will be affordable.
- People will not have to spend half their life waiting for a house in Aneh Dhivehi Rajje. Every citizen will have access to long term financing to own a home.
- In Aneh Dhivehi Rajje, a transport network will connect all islands. It will enhance trade by facilitating the transfer of services and goods from one island to the other.
- The people will not have to beg for healthcare in Aneh Dhivehi Rajje. All citizens will be covered under a health insurance scheme.
- In Aneh Dhivehi Rajje, the doors will be closed for drug smuggling. However, those who fall victim to drugs will be treated with compassion.
- The people will get the full benefit of national income from tourism and fisheries. This will be ensured, among other things, by reducing wasteful government expenditure.
- In Aneh Dhivehi Rajje, the government will develop the resources, equipment, people and facilities needed for tourism and fisheries.
- People will be empowered to stand on their own feet, generate income, and proudly help their own children, family and relatives.
- Citizens' human rights will be protected in Aneh Dhivehi Rajje. And the people will vote wisely to elect their government.