Monday, May 28, 2012

Indian Parliament turns 60 – Part 3 ‘Babudom’

I am trying to pen these lines for the blog at a time when the CBI grilling and arrest of Jaganmohan Reddy, son of former Andhra chief minister, Y S Reddy is being talked about nationwide. This is truly yet another picture of ‘parliamentary democracy’ as it is more than apparent that the Congress party has become vindictive in dealing with Jaganmohan, son of their colleague – who undoubtedly gave them 33 Lok Sabha seats from the crucial southern state. Junior YSR has declined to kowtow to the diktats of Congress high command and has floated a party of his own. The leadership in Congress is particularly upset – post UP polls – as dynastic politics has been well exploited by Jagan while the ‘crown prince’ Rahul G was handed over a shocker. But the bigger debate, I seek to touch upon this time is the misuse of CBI. That CBI timing is questionable is only one aspect of the faultline. The premier investigating agency has chosen to ignore the same cases pertaining to several serving Congress chief ministers in the state. The misuse of CBI pertains to surrender of the CBI sleuths and the top brass. Now, it also goes without stating that India has one of the worst levels of red tapes. In reality, the poor and the common people suffer most from red tape, the chief tool of the bureaucracy (and not at the hands of politicians that way). And these combine together to work as an incentive for bribery. Even during the height of Anna Hazare movement in August 2011; the common people’s complaints about corruption were against the lower level bureaucracy and policing. But lower level bureaucracy and even police force would tell number of times that there is a hard-crust and that a chain effect works in getting the ‘corruption bug’ stay on. But look around; you will find bureaucrats are everywhere – doing well and well placed. List out the Governors: we have chiefly among the former government servants. In 2008, former Union Home Secretary N. N. Vohra took over as the new Governor of Jammu and Kashmir replacing Lt Gen (retd) S K Sinha. Sinha was a BJP appointee; but such is their efficiency (read acceptability), he was continued by Congress-led UPA. There are several others former IAS officer and Culture Secretary Balmiki Prasad Singh (Sikkim), Nikhil Kumar, former IPS, (Nagaland), Lieutenant Gen Madan Mohan Lakhera, Governor of Mizoram Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary, former DGP Kerala (Meghalaya), Gurbachan Jagat , former DGP Jammu and Kashmir (Governor of Manipur). There are others too, Nagaland Governor Nikhil Kumar’s brother N K Singh (a 1964 batch IAS officer of the Bihar cadre) is Rajya Sabha MP of JD-U. They also enter the think tanks. The Government run IDSA is a hub of babus both from civil and military service as well as from parliament secretariat. Even supposedly, privately and albeit run with Sanghi (RSS) ideology apparently, the Vivekananda Kendra is headed by a former Intelligence Bureau chief A K Doval. Even lately, former SPG chief B V Wanchoo took charge of Goa replacing Dr Shivinder Singh Sidhu, Governor of Goa, who had also served in as Guv of Manipur. Do not forget, not long ago, the UPA government burnt its fingers in defending the appointment of former IAS officer P J Thomas as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner. So, what’s the moral of the story? This country cannot be run without babus and retired babus ---- police/military and civil officials. Did our democracy ever ponder, why no top bureaucrat or secretary is ever raided like poor Jagan? Yes, occasionally the onetime powerful babus face cases as Gopi Arora, a Rajiv Gandhi loyalist during Bofors days, was in later stage chargesheeted. But what happened ultimately, one needs to be informed! Lest, I miss, even the incumbent Prime Minister is better known as a ‘babu’ only who had served under ‘Sir’ Pranab Mukherjee. But that’s the style of overestimated economist and underestimated politician. Ends

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