Ground Zero: Badal sets his own governance norms against Modi’s



Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, April 28:  His adversaries who have been slamming Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal for being too soft towards Bharatiya Janata Party leaders in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular would have to change their perception about this one of the senior most politicians in the country. He has finally asserted himself against Modi’s governance norms of maximum governance  with minimum government. Punjabis, after all, are the most large hearted people in the country. Moreover, what is more important is  setting one’s own norms even if it is last year of  his fifth term with elections due in February, 2017. The effective functional period for  Badal government is of a few months. With the induction of six more chief parliamentary secretaries, Badal is determined to thwart the criticism of his government being less functional, one can’t say non-functional as in some respects, it is very efficient.

Besides 17 ministers, now Punjab has 25 chief parliamentary secretaries to lubricate his government to make it more efficient and it is for this reason that this decision should be appreciated. It is different matter that it would put additional financial burden on the bankrupt state exchequer. But it does not matter much as the government can raise a loan of few crore more. Going by the  debt burden of more than Rs 1.25 lakh crore, addition of a few crore is just peanuts as compared to the higher administrative efficiency. It is a different matter that a chief parliamentary secretary is not supposed to handle any file. Navjot Kaur Sidhu, the BJP MLA from Amritsar East, too is a CPS and such is her pitiable condition that she can’t get funds released even for her own constituency.

The only MLA who decided against accepting Badal’s largesse is Pargat Singh from Jalandhar Cantt who preferred to record his protest by saying no. But then he has a sports person and not a professional politician and hence he could take a stand.

The Badal government has been ditched by Modi almost on every issue concerning the state. He had to personally approach the Prime Minister to get cash credit limit released from the banks for wheat procurement. This procurement is done by the state on behalf of the centre and as such, release of this money has been a routine affair all these years. Punjab is food basket of the country. But then there is a mismatch of hundreds of crore in the food account of the Punjab government and the centre.

Unlike Shiv Sena, the other alliance partner of the BJP, Shiromani Akali  Dal or Badal have never questioned the actions of Modi government. For years, the Akali Dal has been demanding that Article 356 of the constitution empowering the centre to impose President’s rule in the state should be dropped. However, the party kept mum when the Modi government imposed President’s rule in Uttrakhand.  Badal and Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal have been silent during entire debate on intolerance and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” discourse. Akali Dal has glorious history of taking position on important issues concerning the country, not any more.

It is in this background that Badal must be appreciated for going against Modi’s governance norms and that too within days of the centre obliging him on the issue of debarring Sehajdharis from voting in the election to the general house of the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee. This should have been done long ago as SGPC can be taken over by the non-Sikhs under this clause.  The voter has to be a Singh or Kaur and that is not the case with the Sehajdharis.

None has given the logic for appeasing half a dozen MLAs for a few months as it is going to have little impact on the political scenario in the state. The size of the cabinet is now limited and the easy way to please MLAs is to induct them through this backdoor.

The people should get a commitment from the parties that approach them in February 2017 that in case elected to power, such disgusting profligacy would be avoided.



Jagtar Singh


[email protected]

Related Editorials