Thursday 09 July 2020

Transition from Akali regime to Congress rule now complete with change of DGP

- Posted on 07 February 2019

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, February 7: Dinkar Gupta taking over the Director General of Police in Punjab replacing Suresh Arora is more than a change at the highest level in the state police. Arora was continuing from the time of the Akali Dal government. The change of DGP about almost two years after the coming into power of the Congress government finally marks clean break with the Akali regime. The symbols must change at the right time.

Arora had superannuated in September last and was on extension. He was perceived to be close to national security advisor Ajit Doval. It may be mentioned that as spymaster in the Intelligence Bureau, Doval handled Punjab operations during militancy.

Bureaucrats are supposed to be professionals. However, one has to be more than just professional to reach at the top. It is too well known a fact that favourites among the professionals are given such responsibilities by the political executive like that of the police chief and the chief secretary.

Punjab represented an interesting paradox as even after the change in regime, the Congressmen did not feel like being in power while the Akali leaders moved about as if they were not in opposition.

Even in recent meetings with Capt Amarinder Singh, many of the MLAs complained that their writ did not run and civil and police officers continued to oblige the Akali leaders.  This was especially in case of police.

Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa even took this issue at a cabinet meeting with particular reference to the security arrangements for Akali Dal general secretary and former revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia.

Change at the top in both the police and civil administration is normal with the change in regime but the continuation of Arora was an exception as he was also close to Capt Amarinder Singh. However, this arrangement did not go well as it sent out wrong signals.

The state police chief night not be having much leverage in the postings and transfers in Punjab but the issue in this case was the contituing with symbols of Akali regime. It may be mentioned that the state police chief did not have power to  transfer even a police station chief during the last ten year rule of the Akali government.

However, the Congress leaders  did not have much say in the appointments at the district level and this was being resented by the MLAs.

The services must be insulated from political interference but the practice is totally different.

The change of DGP in Punjab has thus a meaning. The transition from the Akali regime to the Congress rule now is complete. This process has never taken so long.

It should make a difference so far as the Congress leaders are concerned.

For the common man, it is business as usual.

The people should have a feel of the regime change at least at some levels. That has not been happening in Punjab.

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