Chandigarh, August 14: Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh and his Delhi counterpart Arvind Kejriwal, otherwise adversaries, now have a common cause to console each other. Both of them have been badly hit by the same missile-judicial intervention by their respective high courts and on the same issue. It is the appointment of chief parliamentary secretaries that has been struck down. The Kejriwal government was the first to come under judicial scrutiny on this issue.
These appointments are considered to be the best route to circumvent legislation that imposes limit on the size of the cabinet. Punjab had a total of 24 CPSs.
In Punjab, the CPS get a room in the civil secretariat, staff to assist him in non-work, official residence, official car, police escort and what not. And the best part is that they don’t have to clear any file. Files are rather not routed through them. They are simply a strain on the people who pay the taxes from which they are paid salaries.
Badal has announced that the state government would challenge this verdict in the Supreme Court. He would not like to deny this largesse to his so many colleagues who have been rendered jobless suddenly. Forget the fact that there are thousands of people from various sections who have been agitating for years to get a regular job. Common man is not the priority. Not that he does not know that people welcome such judicial interventions to end such glaring distortions and bending of the system by the rulers to take every possible benefit. This is also corruption of its own type.
This petition was filed in 2012. Now Badal talks of challenging the high court order in the Supreme Court when the Assembly elections are due in February 2017, only five months away.
As the term of his government is coming to a close, he is out to please who-so-ever he can by nominating to one office or the other. The effort is to strengthen his voter mobilization set up. He appointed advisor to advise the government on industry. The person has never attended his office. The adviser is in the rank of a cabinet minister. However, the perks that this office carries are not even peanuts for that industrialist.
Aam Aadmi Party had come into power in Delhi on the thesis of alternative model of governance. However, the appointment of CPSs exposed such a claim.
The people of Punjab should pressurize all the three main contestants to make one commitment- they would not splurge and exploit the scarce resources for personal benefits. The appointment of battery of parliamentary secretaries and advisors who are otherwise good-for-nothing come under this category. So are the police escorts to every tom, dick and harry close to the rulers. None is capable of doing any good for the common cause going by the past experience. Without being pessimistic, one can’t expect much from whichever dispensation comes into power in February 2017.
Let such a commitment be part of the manifesto of all the three parties. These parties should come out with a list of what they would not do rather than making tall promises like creating 25 lakh jobs without telling the people how that would be done. There are promises to end the scourge of drugs within a month and so on. The people can’t be fooled all the time.
These parties should promise that they would not make any false promise. Badal has been misleading the people of Punjab on the sensitive issue of river waters all his life despite the record available to the contrary.
Parties are invoking Dr B R Ambedkar while referring to the plight of the dalits and the promises to uplift them. However, these leaders forget that the Sikh religion came up as religion of the have-nots. The philosophy given by Guru Nanak is the best framework for the holistic social uplift of the society. But then giving a slogan is the easiest approach.
The basic issue under discussion is that of the common “cause” that both Badal and Kejriwal can take up. One does not know whether some people have offered to mediate between the two to evolve a joint strategy or not.