Khattar pats self for 1,000 days in office, others not impressed (News Analysis)
Chandigarh, July 26 (IANS) The first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Haryana led by Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar is patting itself on its back for having completed 1,000 days in office and highlighting its achievements. But not many, especially the opposition, are impressed by the claims.
While the Khattar government is upbeat about “ushering in an era of change in the state by giving people transparent, graft-free and responsive administration, divorcing growth from regional and political bias and showing discretion and nepotism the gate in recruitment to various posts”, opposition leaders and people on the ground are taking the claims with a pinch of salt.
Opposition Congress leaders are pointing out that Khattar and his government have nothing to show in the name of performance and that he is harping on old accusations that he used to make when he entered office.
“The Chief Minister and his government have nothing in the name of performance. In fact, all development that was taking place in Haryana has come to a complete standstill. Even after nearly three years in power, Khattar is still blaming the Congress party for the mess in the state,” Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Deepinder Hooda pointed out.
Khattar, in his recent media interaction to highlight 1,000 days in office, said that the previous Congress government headed by Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda had created potholes which his government was still trying to fill.
The Indian National Lok Dal, Haryana’s principal opposition party, is also highly critical of Khattar’s tenure.
“This is the most nikkami (incompetent) government that Haryana has ever seen. No development is taking place,” INLD leader Abhay Singh Chautala said.
Khattar, a former Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) pracharak, was a political greenhorn and a first-time legislator when the BJP picked him to be the Chief Minister on October 26, 2014. He had not held any office or administrative position till then.
The complete breakdown of law and order during the Jat reservation agitation in February 2016 put a permanent scar on Haryana’s social and political fabric and the Khattar government’s inept handling led to the situation going out of hand and resulting in large-scale violence.
Violence during the agitation left 30 people dead and over 200 injured. Government and private property worth hundreds of crores was damaged during the violence. But all of that has not stopped Khattar from claiming that “Haryana has been placed on a high-growth trajectory”.
Khattar, in these 1,000 days, has visited the US, Canada, China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore to attract investment to Haryana. Not mamy of the hyped investment proposals have seen the light of day so far.
“We have induced new thinking and adopted a fresh approach to solve the problems faced by the people. Concrete and conscious steps have been taken to improve things by changing the way the government works, and making people change their perception about it,” Khattar claimed.
For a state where government jobs by previous dispensations have always been given on caste, regional and other considerations, the Khattar government claims to have stemmed the rot.
“Transparency has been injected not only into day-to-day administration but also in providing government jobs to the youth. Earlier, people used to think that their education and capability had no value as jobs are given either on the recommendations of political functionaries or through corruption. But we have changed the system which has brought great relief to the common man,” Khattar maintained.
To further control corruption, the Khattar government has taken initiatives on the information technology (IT) front.
The CLU (change of land use) permission, which used to be the biggest scam in previous regimes, too has been decentralised and made deadline-bound.
But at the same time, the Khattar government has witnessed frequent transfers of bureaucrats and officers at various levels. Within the Chief Minister’s own office, senior bureaucrats and functionaries have been moved around a few times, causing instability in governance.
With the next assembly elections — which will be held after the 2019 general elections — still over two years away, Khattar and his government will have to show more action in their governance on the ground.
(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)