There is no doubt that the electoral contest has taken its toll on government functioning in Uttarakhand. Incidents like two ruling party MLAs challenging each other to a wrestling match, or policemen committing road hold-ups in the official vehicle of an IG, indicate that there is no fear of the political leadership or the administration. There have been a number of crises within the government and the ruling BJP which required action from the Chief Minister and the party but were allowed to slide. It is easy to talk tough, but delivery is always a different cup of tea.
What is lacking? Has it do with the top leadership, or are there fundamental deficiencies in the state’s governance culture? Is this a legacy issue, or has the decline taken place during the time of the present government? Have incidents, where action has been wanting, encouraged the trouble-makers? Why, despite having such a massive majority in the state assembly, does the leadership pussy-foot around contentious issues? Is it a strategy to put off confrontations till such time the General Elections get over? It is only natural to assume that dissension within the ruling party at the present would impact upon the image of the BJP, nationwide. Does the presence of a large number of former Congress members within the party create a fundamental instability? Is it believed that, having jumped ships profitably in the past, they could do so again? What lies behind the decision to keep two posts in the Cabinet empty, even though such a large contingent of MLAs deserves better representation in the power structure?
So many questions and such lack of clarity! It is only natural that there would be loose command and control right down the power structure. Good intentions matter little if they do not manifest in action. People wish to see action on the ground and the desired outcomes in terms of efficient administration and speedy development. It has been seen that even an excellent initiative such as the Atal Ayushman Yojana did not make the electoral impact it should have, simply because of the lethargy in implementation. The election boycott by the residents of some villages left a bad taste in the mouth. It indicates that, far from delivering services and amenities, the government has not even been listening and responding sympathetically enough to their woes.
All of these are symptoms of a deep malaise. It behoves those in power to quickly review the situation and come up with solutions. Otherwise, conditions will go downhill even faster.