A day after he completed four years in office headlines in some newspapers screamed: CM to personally monitor law and order.
The question that popped in my mind was: Pray, what was he doing in the first three years of his office? After all, he has held the home portfolio from the very beginning.
The other question was that in the euphoria following his anointment as chief minister did he abdicate his responsibility? Or, did his father and uncles, m/s Mulayam Singh Yadav, Shivpal Yadav, Ramgopal Yadav and Mohd Azam Khan, usurp his decision-making powers?
Now with elections approaching, they all thought that it was time to do some parlour hopping for an image makeover. But, like the blood on Lady Macbeth’s hands Samajwadi Party cannot rid itself of the stigma of being a party under whose rule criminals flourish and the common man lives in fear.
While it is difficult to rank Bahujan Samaj Party and the SP on corruption, the latter takes the cake in patronising criminals. On the face of it the newspaper headlines in the election year remind this story of the wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood story. The wolf in her grandmother’s disguise is only trying to fool the little girl who, however, is smart.
The sudden concern to keep a close watch on the crime situation has a hidden message: If elected, for four years the goons will be allowed a free run and then the government will wake up to rein them in.
The logic is simple. It is all about votes, you see!
The same sham of a concern was demonstrated with a overnight stay in Bundelkhand and announcement of sops for the drought-hit people. When the farmers were committing suicide and dying of shock after the unseasonal rain the government’s response was insensitive. It refused to acknowledge suicide deaths and sanctioned pathetically low relief. There were cases where even that low amount did not reach the needy.
Bundelkhand is the poorest region of the state and yet the government has woken up to the people’s plight in election year. All along, it expected the Centre to provide funds for the region.
Why couldn’t it give the same priority to the region as it did to Saifai, the ruling family’s village in Etawah? Only a fraction of the thousands of crores splurged on that God forsaken village would have helped the people.
If the government can fund the construction of highways without Central assistance, it could surely have come up with a more timely and effective intervention in Bundelkhand.
Other wasteful expenditures like building cycle tracks in a city where roads are choc a bloc with people could have been avoided and funds diverted for Bundelkhand people’s relief. While planning for cycle tracks the government did not even bother to see how a similar track built on Lohia path, not far from the CM’s official residence, was faring.
People’s misery is not an issue of political importance until elections are around the corner.
The columnist is former Resident Editor Times of India, Lucknow