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Handle Carefully


It has been reported that a hundred BJP leaders will be given ‘ministerial-rank’ appointments in Uttarakhand. Only about a tenth of such responsibilities deserve such a status. Even ND Tiwari, who was pilloried for the number of ‘Lat Battis’ he had handed out, was not so generous. So, who is going to pay for this genuflection before politicians’ egos? The public, of course!

It would seem that the BJP, despite its emphatic victory in the assembly election, is not confident of the loyalty of its rank and file. The Chief Minister, Pushkar Singh Dhami, clearly wants to ensure there are no slip-ups in his getting elected in the coming bypoll. He does not seem to be giving a thought to the difficulties of the common people, who will have to face many inconveniences, not least being bullied into making way on the roads by ‘Lat Batti’ convoys targeting their hooters at them. And think of the already overwhelmed government officials who will have to accommodate the ministerial rank-holders throwing their weight at them! It is unlikely much real work will get done in the state.

And, apart from sundry matters such as controlling forest fires, ensuring water and electricity supply in the coming peak of Summer, maintaining smooth conduct of the tourist and yatra seasons, there will be the onerous task of working out how the uniform civil code will be implemented. There is also the issue of responding to the demands of every sadhu and sant on maintaining the ‘divinity’ of the Devbhoomi by launching ‘verification drives’. Dhami already has his hands full – not to speak of the onerous task of remaining in office for the next five years.

The best hope for the state is that the CM is practicing the strategy of Modi and Shah that misdirects the opposition with easy to snap up issues, while the real objectives are targeted unnoticed. (The way the entire media and political parties have been made busy with loudspeakers and bulldozers and nobody notices what the PM is up to these days!) If he has to find traction, Chief Minister Dhami must make it clear to, both, his officials and all the ‘Lal Battis’ that real power lies in the hands of a small number of his cohorts who have his, the party’s and the state’s best interests in mind. And that everybody will be held accountable – no power without responsibility!