JAMMU: A day after less heard or talked about National Spokesperson of Congress played moralist by asking Election Commission of India to closely monitor transfers in various departments of the Jammu and Kashmir government, fearing irregularities, the message was loud and clear that the unholy marriage of compulsion between the power brokers was technically over. The only formality binding National Conference and Congress together remained to grab as much as they can even during dying moments of their government. The net losers are the people who are helplessly watching ‘Bander-Baant’ between warring factions. The latest booty shared by the duo was to install their blue-eyed boys with just one honourable exception in a statutory body that is going to decide the fate of educated young people of the State in next five years. Nobody knows what more is left in store for them in the next few months with reckless government in command of the situation.
Being junior in the formation, Congress has remained mired in controversies with its several ministers facing the charges of omissions and commissions. Some of them even brought their feud in public domain by calling names to each other and washing dirty linen on streets and squares. Some managed to get proceedings against them stalled in the Accountability Commission by questioning its jurisdiction. This has encouraged corruption and nepotism in the administration with unscrupulous elements among both the partners making hay when sun is shining. The scenario has reached such a morass where the kettle is calling pot as black. Unfortunately, the coalition partners are yet to decide who is kettle and who a pot. But the gruesome fact remains that both stand naked in public eye. Es Hamam Mein Sab Nange Hain, the adage in Urdu perhaps stands apt for the alliance which has become virtually rudderless after the Congress was made to pack at the Centre.
National Spokesperson of the Congress has chosen to go public by stating that as the elections were approaching, ‘there will be opportunities to seek political gains from all sorts of government processes, especially transfers’. Does he mean to say in narrow sense of term that money will exchange hands or favourites will be given lucrative assignments for obvious reasons? In both the cases, the brunt will be borne by the State, which is already suffering on numerous counts, floods being the latest. Viewed in broader perspective, the Congress man can be seen hinting at attempts being made by the senior coalition partner to have ‘own people’ installed against key assignments with eyes on elections.
National Conference has not taken kindly to the moralist sermon of Congress small-timer. It hit back with a very serious charge of corruption and nepotism in class fourth appointments in the Education Department. The party is on record having sought judicial probe by a sitting High Court Judge while expressing anguish over the concerns of aggrieved candidates left in the recruitment process. In a way, the National Conference has endorsed the charges leveled by some left out candidates that money has exchanged hands while making the appointments. Is it tip of iceberg about the state of affairs in the coalition dispensation?
The trading of charges by Congress and National Conference against each other pushes the ball into the court of Chief Minister who is constitutionally bound to uphold the rule of law. If corruption has taken place in the appointment of class fourth vacancies in a particular department, the onus lies on the Chief Minister to set aside the order and ask for an independent probe to fix responsibility. Similarly, if National Conference lobby has been instrumental in shady business of transfers, process to undo the wrong will have to be set in motion, sooner the better as the State is heading towards crucial elections, most probably later this year. All eyes therefore remain set on the Chief Minister with people wondering as to what he will be doing next to restore confidence of the people in administration during its dying moments. It is not only the credibility of the government, which faces acid test in remainder period of its tenure but the reputation of the Chief Minister too is at stake.
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