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McCarthyism in Uttarakhand

Dr Nitin Pandey

Every 5 years, in UP, with amazing regularity, power alternates between BSP and SP. Each time the victor treats the vanquished with utter contempt, threatening to put behind bars its top leaders, slapping National Security Act against its MLA’s, hounding out of the State industrialists presumed close to the other, removing the entire police and administrative top brass and even sacking all new recruits in the police. Commissions set up every 5 years to enquire into all the doings of the previous government, fade into oblivion after the next change of government. Such acts are now considered “routine politics”, almost part of a tradition and do not raise eyebrows. Similar is the story in Tamil Nadu and Punjab. Politicians in power behave like kings and queens, forgetting that after 5years they too may be at the receiving end.

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.
  • “What, if any, misuse of power by public servants took place during the aforesaid periods whereby Government funds were sanctioned in an unrestrained manner without taking into account public good in a rational manner?” “Public good” and “rational manner” are open to numerous interpretations and are used more in witch hunts than serious research.
  • “Whether contracts were awarded and procurements were made for the above departments without following proper laid down procedure and rules and without keeping the interest of the State and Public” Again the emphasis of “interest of the State and Public” is extremely debatable.
  • “To what extent, if any, above said omissions or commissions aided or abetted by any person or persons having official authority or by other institutions or organizations caused losses to the State of Uttarakhand?”
  • “For what purposes and in whose interest and under whose directions, if any, such omissions and commissions took place?”
It somehow reminds one of the infamous Shah Commission of inquiry after Indira Gandhi’s defeat in 1977.

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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From: Zdraveite.. Iskam da popitam kak moga da kaandtatsvim za programa za ka6ta za selski turizam imam ka6ta vav podnojieto na rila planina ili po to4no vav grad Sapareva baniq i iskam da iq napraviq ka6
Zdraveite.. Iskam da popitam kak moga da kaandtatsvim za programa za ka6ta za selski turizam imam ka6ta vav podnojieto na rila planina ili po to4no vav grad Sapareva baniq i iskam da iq napraviq ka6ta za selski turizam,vazmojnolie i kak moje da stane tova .

From: C.M.Joshi.
Dear Dr. Saheb, Simply great. I would suggest you to please go a little ahead, and step into active politics. It would benefit the society a great deal. I know it's easier said than done, but at least keep-up the good work, without losing hope. Fortunately, Maj Gen Khanduri is quite an enlightened person, unlike a typical politician of our country. You may personally bring it to his notice, so that it helps shape-up the future policies of the govt. With best regards, Chandrakant Joshi. July 24, 2008.