A Minister's Lament

Are, yaar, the last month has been just full of bad news. Every two bit Government babu is out to disgrace us.

Charges have been framed against Dayanand the Law Minister of Goa in what the newspapers like to call the 'fake ticket scam'. These include charges related to cheating, criminal conspiracy, forgery, etc '. a long list. If you can't remember the details, let me tell you. Fake tickets were sold during the India-Australia ODI back in April 2001 and some people with genuine tickets who could not get in into the stadium created a ruckus and were lathi charged. Dayanand was then the President of the Goa cricket association. This case really smacks of persecution ' after all, that was such a long time ago and only a matter of a few tickets and a cricket match. Hopefully, all will still end well.

Taking about law, there is Jamuna Prasad who has been accused of taking the law into his own hands. He was only trying to get justice for a member of his constituency when he visited the police station with 60 supporters (the newspapers called it a 'mob' attack). A constable attached to the police station died and Jamuna Prasad resigned his job as the UP Fisheries Minister. To add insult to injury, he has been arrested now.

Ajai Ji's case is most unfair. The Health Minister of M.P. was known for taking good care of his larger family and even treating the department and its contractors and suppliers as an extended family. Just think of his plight, being forced to resign just because of income tax raids on his brother, wife, father and various present and former health department officials, businessmen engaged in the supply of medicines and health department contractors.

Even women ministers are not being spared embarrassment. Take Shrimati Poongothai of Tamil Nadu. I am not saying she did anything wrong, but what was wrong if she did ask a vigilance department official over the phone to go easy on her cousin in a corruption case? How will a minister be able to hold up her head if she cannot defend her own family? And that too, she is responsible for social welfare! But some good may yet come out of this. The Tamil Nadu Government is, rightly, probing how the minister's phone conversations with officials are being tapped and made public. Hopefully, lessons will be learnt and all state governments will make their ministers' communications more secure.

As you see, all in all, the last month has been really bad.

However, the one incident that upset me deeply dates back to August of last year. My dear colleague, Bishnu was confronted with allegations that he ordered his son Bijoy's high school exam marks to be increased. School Board officials found discrepancies between marks awarded and those recorded in the mark sheet - 89 in Oriya in place of 39, 80 in English in place of 50, 54 in Social Science paper II instead of 45 and so on. Bishnu denied the charge and attributed the increased marks to a computer error. (Very clever of him, wasn't it?) But being a thorough gentleman, he accepted moral responsibility for the computer error and resigned as the Minister for School and Mass Education, Orissa. Poor Bishnu!

There is no job security anymore, yaar. How in heaven are we expected to meet our obligations to family, friends, constituency and country?


More by :  Kannan Kasturi

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