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Politics A Tipsy Government In Punjab

Discussion in 'Breaking News' started by Archived_Member16, Jul 1, 2009.

  1. Archived_Member16

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    SPNer Thinker

    Jan 7, 2005
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    A tipsy government in Punjab

    Gobind Thukral - South Asia Post - June 30, 2009

    NO one doubts that Mr. Parkash Singh Badal is the senior most political figure leader in Punjab. Yet how come his skills in managing the affairs of the state or coalition politics falter so often. His tenure this time is full of such instances and begins with the very formation of the Akali BJP government. He brought in every available relative into his cabinet and down the line either his or his son and now party president and the deputy chief minister Mr. Sukhbir Singh Badal’s relatives or supporters into party or government hierarchies. He must have realised during the recent Lok Sabha polls when the Akali Dal just escaped a debacle that finally it does not pay much. His party won only four of the eight seats it had. Its partner, the BJP just scarped through with one seat out of the three it had.

    What happened the other day in Ludhiana when youth Akali leaders lead by Simarjit Singh Bains and Kanwaljit Singh Karwal publicly beat a revenue officer, Major Gurinder Singh Banipal, tore his clothes and abused him. A minister was there immediately to help those attackers and the Ludhiana deputy commissioner and senior superintendent of police looked the other way. Instead of helping a fellow officer who was brutally assaulted, they were seen helping the accused. It was when revenue officials, Punjab Civil service Association and the media relentlessly came out strongly against the accused that they were arrested and only when Mr. Badal’s intervened. Clearly the state functions more or less as a fiefdom. What was the real fault of Major Banipal? As most newspapers reported, he had exposed fake stamp paper scam and refused to buckle under any pressure. He was being taught a lesson. Now courts and Punjab Human Rights Commission are investigating the matter. They would also consider the statements of the accused that they are innocent and falsely implicated.

    The government must realise that the entire civil administration is up in arms against the political class. IAS Officers Association has issued statements lending support to Major Banipal. Revenue officers, right from patwari to tehsildar level; neither known for their efficiency nor honesty are up in arms. There is a definite disconnection between the political executive and down the line administration. This helps neither big leaders like Mr. Badal nor the harassed people of Punjab who have been seeking some semblance of governance during the past three years. For them the regime change is meant little relief.

    The instance of poor governance as the political masters ought to know neither begin with ugly incident of Ludhiana nor end here. Alongside, a senior engineer in Amritsar district of the Punjab State electricity Board who had been trying to stop power theft was brutally assaulted. He had ordered disconnection of several electricity connections. Earlier, district development and panchayat officer Ranbir Singh Mudal’s ear was chopped off in July, 2007, in Gurdaspur district. He was assaulted when he was holding auction for the panchayat land on lease. A senior Akali leader’s son figured in that case.

    There is a belligerent rising class of politicians who bully institutions in their favour and subdue administration to strike terror. These street fighters make money by using their clout with the ruling politicians and in turn are available for ‘election work’. The present round of violence started during the last elections to municipal corporations. It also happened at a large scale during zila parishad, block samiti and panchayat elections. Both the Akalis and the BJP know very well about what happened in those elections in Tarn Taran, Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Amritsar districts. In all three persons were killed and more than 100 injured in the zila parishad and block samiti polls in May, 2008. Intriguingly most of these violent fights then had occurred among supporters of the SAD and the BJP. Besides burning of the BJP MLA Anil Joshi’s car, several other vehicles were damaged in a fight among activists of the SAD and the BJP near Tarn Taran. During Lok Sabha elections , Bhatinda witnessed ugly fights.

    There have been instances where honest civil servants have suffered and the political and administrative leadership instead of helping the victims had been siding with the accused. Should we say that the corrupt are having a field day?

    Such repulsive instances do not end here. There is one Akali MLA, said to be very powerful who has business interests. This gentleman, Mr. Sarabjit Singh Makkar was angry with the Local Bodies Minister, Mr. Manoranjan Kalia like many other people when the ministers either did not oblige or failed to perform their normal duties. In this case building plans for his malls etc where he sought some concessions were pending with the minister for some time. He was so angry that during his visit to the official residence of Mr. Kalia [both belong to Jalandhar district] in Chandigarh there was a spat. As per Mr. Kalia the Akali MLA abused him in choicest Punjabi explicit. Mr. Kalia was so hurt by this insult and humiliation that he called other BJP leaders and ministers. They telephone the chief minister and narrated the whole incident. Mr. Badal asked them to cool down and promised to speak to Mr. Makkar. Mr. Badal declared this usually happened when two vassals are put alongside there is bound to be a cracking noise.[ do bhande jado ekahte rakh dio ta aps vich takra ke khade han ] BJP ministers boycotted the cabinet meeting that took some very helpful decisions otherwise the same day and trooped to New Delhi to meet central leaders. They were heard patiently by the BJP leaders who later suggested to Mr. Badal to sort out the issue. Three days later Mr. Badal along with Makkar and others went to Kalia’s house and apologized and asked to bury the hatchet. This ended here but with very bad taste in the mouth. more such incidents cannot be ruled out.

    A defeated BJP which is divided and sulking is in no position to reprimand Mr. Badal much less boycott the government or withdraw support. Although the Badal government clearly survives on the support of the 19 BJP MLAs, yet the Akalis have adopted an attitude: who cares. As BJP blames its poor performance during the Lok Sabha polls [it lost 17 segments of the 19 assembly seats it held], on Akalis find the junior partners silly and useless. As one Akali leader pointed out, “Look at Mr. Kalia. He thinks he is dead honest. We know whom he favours. Did he not reject the findings of the departmental enquiry into a mall by the chief vigilance officer in Amritsar and favoured the property builder.” Tales run wide and open about corruption by both sides.

    The political class has been injecting violence in the body politics of Punjab over many years. Akalis, Congressmen and the BJP, all who swear by democracy must share the blame. Mr. Badal with his vast experience must know this kind of performance may not favour the Akalis during the assembly polls. And, then what follows is not the usual defeat at the polls, but the revenge saga that started some years ago taking a more violent turn.

    source: South Asia Post

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