The shocking demise of cabinet minister Prakash Pant has made the Himalayan state bereft of a statesman, scholar, politician and above all a human being par excellence. His smiling demeanour coupled with logic based arguments used to disarm even his strongest critics. Though Pant was in the race for the coveted post of chief minister after BJP coasted to a landslide victory in Vidhan Sabha elections in the year 2017 and the crown of CM was ultimately placed on the head of Trivendra Singh Rawat, there existed a deep rooted mutual respect and understanding between the two leaders. The incumbent CM would thoroughly miss a colleague like Pant who used to ward off the assault of opposition single-handedly on government in the state assembly as the parliamentary affairs minister. On many occasions, he was seen coming to the rescue of hapless ministers surrounded by belligerent members of opposition with statements laden with such data and facts which surprised the ministers concerned and blunted the attack of the opposition. His yawning knowledge of parliamentary procedures and matters related to finance made him stand apart from other politicians. With Pant not around, TSR government would fill the vacant cabinet berths with suitable candidates but it would be very hard for them to match the very high standards set by Pant.
The recent reprehensible incident of rape of a nine year old girl in Nainbagh area of Tehri district has not only inflicted a deep scar on the collective societal conscience but has also brought back the slacken governance in the mountainous state into sharp focus. The fact that the little girl had to travel for about 150 kilometres to provisional state capital Dehradun for medical examination in the medico legal case speaks volumes of the wretched status of health services in the mountainous areas. It is agonisingly painful that the government has failed miserably in setting up a basic health system in vast swathes of the state more than 70 years after independence and 18 years of creation of a separate state in the name of aspiration of people of mountainous areas. Similarly, the mental debauchery of the administrative machinery got exposed when in gross violation of norms and common civilised behaviour the police took the minor victim and the accused offender in the same vehicle to the district court for recording their statements. The psychological condition of the girl who was forced to relive the trauma in the name of medical examination and judicial procedure can well be understood.
Using the sting CDs and other information ostensibly provided by a journalist turned entrepreneur having varied business interests, a senior Congress legislator has unleashed a frontal assault on chief minister TSR. However, in his endeavour to score political brownie points by targeting ‘zero tolerance on corruption’ image of TSR, this leader has apparently forgotten or remained aloof to the fact the person on whom he is hitchhiking his venture to attack TSR was the one involved in the infamous sting on the then chief minister Harish Rawat who apart from being a senior leader of his own party happens to be his brother in-law. Considering the damage done to him by this sting it is highly unlikely that Harish Rawat has approved his brother in-law’s venture against the incumbent CM. Though whatever is being allegedly exposed in the sting videos and transcripts provided to the media was already in public domain for some time and the man behind the scene has a dubious reputation so it would be prudent for the CM to get the allegations examined.
Author: Gajendra Singh Negi
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