Uttarakhand is a new state, still in its infancy. People in this State are much more educated, warm and refined than most other states in India. Its political traditions as an independent state are still evolving and this casts a lot of onus on the present generation of leaders. All their actions will be treated as a precedent in the years to come; therefore setting healthy precedents is of crucial importance. One can either indulge in a tit for tat policy described above or pause, instead of thinking of immediate political gains, think of how it will be interpreted and used in the future and then act with caution. This differentiates a true leader from a cheer leader. Humility and respect for the defeated opponent should be an integral part of Uttarakhand’s political culture. Humiliating and hounding a defeated opponent earns cheers from a crowd and nothing more.
The Uttarakhand Government recently constituted the Justice AN Varma Commission of Enquiry to “enquire into the allegation of persistent misuse of authority of power during the period of last five financial years ending on 31st March 2004, whereby the omissions and commissions of authority in departments of the State Government e.g. Revenue, Disaster Management, PWD, Urban Development and other departments, which have come to the notice of the Government, have resulted in enormous losses to the state of Uttarakhand.”
A one man army mandated to look into files of each and every Uttarakhand Government department, for deeds done or not done over the last five years, which have resulted in “enormous losses to the state”. Does this smack of UP style of Politics? Can anything be less specific? If the Government had specific complaints it would have been more effective and efficient to investigate specific allegations.
The terms of the Commission make even more disturbing reading.
The Justice AN Varma Commission will spend years going through Government files, public servants will spend hours testifying before it justifying their actions and if politicians are called before it, chaos will ensue. So much of public money and man power will be spent on non specific and vague hearsay allegations. And if there are specific allegations, why not have them investigated individually?
The effect of such commissions on the morale of the Civil Servants should also be pondered over. Having to explain each and every action taken over the last 5yrs is not an easy task. Deciding how to apportion responsibility or blame in the politician-bureaucrat team will be steeped in controversy. Would such an unpleasant experience lead to a demoralized bureaucracy in future, one which is reluctant to take decisions?
How long will a one man commission take to complete such a wide gamut of investigations, is another point to moot. If it takes more than 4 years, which most certainly it will, then the next government, if it is of Congress, will in all probability scrap it and dismiss all its findings and then, citing this commission as a precedent, institute another commission to investigate the 5 BJP years. The onus of starting such a bad precedent will rest with the present government. Such tit for tats only multiply with time and lead to the State spending more time and resources hounding the political opponents than working for the welfare of its people.
Maj. Gen. Khanduri is a person with impeachable honesty. The Indian Army instills into its men the virtue of being magnanimous in victory. Prisoners of War are given respect due to their rank. Setting up such a commission does not befit person of his stature. Copying politics of neighboring states will erase the difference between Uttarakhand and UP. In one of his first press conferences after assuming office, Maj. Gen. Khanduri had said that he will eradicate corruption in the State. If he is serious about it, he should start doing it from today. Digging up graves from the past will only dirty the present without improving the future.
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