By Mathihalli Madan Mohan
The tragedy with the Karnataka Chief Minister who is reigning for the past nearly one and half years has been he is not able to steer the ship of the state even in fair weather conditions.
When Siddaramaiah, a political migrant was preferred to the long standing party loyalist like Mallikarjun Kharge, for the top post after assembly elections was that as a former AHINDA movement which worked for consolidation of backward classes, minorities and dalits, he would be able bring back on rails, the administration, which had gone to dogs during the previous dispensation. When he failed to rise to the expectations initially, it was argued that he was forced to run a three legged race by the high command, which would not allow him to have a free hand.
After the loksabha elections, when the party high command lost its command because of humiliating defeat heaped on it by Narendra Modi of the BJP, it was felt that Siddaramaiah can assert to crack the whip to set right the matter. The fact that Karnataka contributed the largest chunk of Congress MPs, Siddaramaih need hardly bother about the tantrums of the high commands, which has its own problems to chew than expend energies in the state matters.
But the same kind of inertia in the working of the government has continued to grip the state in the post-loksabha election scenario. He appears something like a lame watchman guarding a mango grove. The only difference is that while the lame watchman’s shout can keep the poachers at bay, Siddaramaih can shout but none is afraid.
This unfortunately is the state of affairs of few of the Congress controlled states in the country, the only one in the Southern India (Kerala is under a coalition government led Congress). For those who expected the Congress to bestir itself after the shocking and humiliating drubbing in the recent loksabha elections) certainly find themselves disappointed badly. The Congress has not come out of inertia and the Congress government in Karnataka government is no exception.
Siddaramaiah has been unable to discipline his own colleagues in the ministry. Most of them have been wayward in their approach. There is no sense of cohesion in their work. There are more tardy ministers than the performing once.
The mutual bickering between the Chief Minister and the state party president Dr Parameshwara continues without any thaw. Dr Parameshwara is not bothered about the dwindling image of the party. He is pursuing single point programme of getting a berth in the ministry and getting anointed with the post of Deputy Chief Minister. His completion of four years in office led to big publicity bash in the media taking credit for whatever the government’s achievement, which has been a laughing stock. There is not a single word on whether he has been able to rejuvenate the party from its moribund state of affairs. He has been openly critical of government. From the state of affairs of relations between Siddaramaiah and party high command, the prospects of Parameshwara’ s dream being realized do not look bright at all. Siddaramaiah has firmly set him against the creation of a parallel centre of power by going in for the creation of the post of the Deputy Chief Minister. The much talked about coordination committee headed by the AICC General Secretary Mr. Digvijay Singh has proved to be a damp squib. Mr. Singh is more worried about the eldership crisis within the party at the top level than bother about the state of affairs of a southern state like Karnataka.
On the administrative side, Siddaramaiah is riding a horse which cannot be reined. There is nothing like a grip in the administration. His stern talk during the officials meetings have gone overboard. None in the state administrative hierarchy takes him seriously.
What is more important has been that the disconnect between the government and the people has been total and complete. It is obvious that the political leadership in the country has miserably failed to vibe with the people. The government’s deadwood approach to the problems and sentiments of the people is now too well known. If it is drought, the government is hardly bothered and even the ministers in charge of the district do not even to pretend to be aware of the problem and hardly are able to visit the affected district to assuage the feelings of the people.
When there was a public uproar in Bangalore over the mounting garbage problem, the government appeared to be unaware of the problem. The government woke up only when the High Court chided the government. The woes of the nearby village the land of which has been used to dump the Bangalore garbage, and the health problem this has created as a consequence hardly moved the government till a nonagerian social worker freedom fighter Doreswamy joined the villages to launch a satyagraha. But for the chiding of the High Court, the government would have remained in deep slumber. The Brihan Bangalore Municipal Corporation, which is primary responsible for the problem has got away scot free for its dereliction of duty.
The latest has been the public outcry over the spurt in the cases of sexual assault on the young school children in Bangalore has not been able to pierce the thick ear drums of powers that be. Both the Chief Minister and the Home Ministers are behaving like Roman King Nero who fiddled while the Rome was burning. The Education Minister and the officials of his ministry, who should be really feel concerned over the deteriorating state of affairs and the manner which the private schools in the state capital have been flagrantly violating rules and continue to thrive has no time to bother about the phenomenon.
In nut shell, there is no government worth the name in Karnataka, which can be trusted to deliver. This has been the achievement of Siddaramaiah, unlike two fellow backward class leaders like Devaraj Urs and Bangarappa, whose names are etched in political history of Karnataka for viding with aspirations of people.
(Posted on November 3 , 2014 @ 12:30pm)
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