July 03, 2016

Haryana: An Advance Laboratory of ‘Gujarat Model’

Inderjit Singh

THE Khattar-led BJP government in Haryana has just completed one-and-a-half years. Two prominent features have emerged in this short span – fast erosion in its credibility and strenuous attempt at saffronisation of social and administrative environment. Both are moving at a matching speed. A characteristic trinity of its contemptuous approach of disrupting the unity of people, attack on their rights and curtailing of welfare measures is clearly visible. In true spirit of RSS, the government seems to be working on the mega project of converting Haryana into an advance laboratory of ‘Gujarat Model’. The people of Haryana, in their desperate attempt to get rid of the Congress, had voted BJP to power in last elections to Assembly and Parliament. The Haryana government is now working completely opposite to what it had promised to the people.

Education, health and agriculture services are on the brink of disaster and unemployment is rising. Curtailment in employment allowance, old age pension, MGNREGA allocation and food security scheme appear to be the prime targets of the government. Due to increasing criminalisation and abject failure of the government in law and order front, only the criminals feel secure in the state.

The second aspect of grimness is to formalise the control of RSS in the administrative formations of the state. A panel of 25 persons (all belonging to RSS) has been formed to advice and monitors the district administration. They are called ‘sushasan sahyogi’. According to a government communiqué, half of them are from outside the state. They shall have a direct link to the chief minister and the district officers shall report to them about all acts and happenings in the district. They are to be given a salary of Rs 50,000 per month.

The people’s tribunal, set up in wake of the violent Jat reservation stir, has revealed in its report that a dual system of administration has taken shape in Haryana. It was due to this development, the whole administrative system has been rendered completely ineffective. The panel was headed by former Director General of Police V N Rai. The report has clearly stated that officers of various levels could not discharge their duty with normal wisdom and vision because they were getting parallel orders and instructions from RSS. The appointment of these so-called ‘sushasan sahyogi’ is an attempt to give a formal shape to the unconstitutional dictates of RSS. Similarly, a flop is being committed by appointing totally unfit RSS persons as vice-chancellors and registrars of universities and officers of boards.

It is significant to note that state education minister Ram Bilas Sharma has openly advocated the saffronisation of education. Now he has come up with the idea of a dress code for teachers. A video has surfaced which intends to humiliate a teacher. The education minister is purportedly seen exhorting the teachers to stand before him the same way as a constable stands in salute before a superintendent of police. Instead of taking right lesson from the disastrous result of matriculation examination, they are hell bent on imposition of Gita, yoga and Sanskrit. At the same time the government has completely surrendered to the wishes of management of private schools who are clearly refusing to admit poor children as mandated under the provision 134-A of the Haryana Education Act, 2003. The government has now decided to pay for the full expenses of such children to private schools. It should be noted that matriculation results of Private schools are equally bad.

The lack of concern of government towards the educated youth was evident in police recruitment programme recently. They were made to stand and run in the utmost inhospitable hot and humid weather. As a result, two aspirants died during the exercise and hundreds others had to be taken to hospital. Significantly, the chief minister holds the portfolio of home department. In a similar tone of contempt, Union minister Birender Singh, who belongs to Haryana, stated that 100 days of work under MGNREGA didn’t hold good as the workers wanted to work only for 40 days.

The employment scene in the state is very disappointing. Thousands of the posts in government departments are lying vacant. The government on the contrary has announced appointing 35,000 employees on temporary basis. No terms, conditions and rules have been framed. There are apprehensions in minds of people that only the RSS cadre will be recruited.

The people, who were reeling under the impact of price rise and agriculture crises, are facing a grim situation. They are being deprived of even the minimum available relief to them. Ration cards are being denied to new beneficiaries. Uncalled for conditions and objections are raised on old age pension. The prevailing practice of compensation for crop failure is being scuttled in the name of infamous crop insurance scheme. This all goes to spell a doom to peasants and a boom to national and foreign companies. Perpetual increase of diesel prices is like rubbing salt on the wounds of peasantry who are also coping a severe drought.

The common people are rising in protest against the systemic onslaught on their living condition. The government on other hand is busy in suppressing their democratic rights. This has become a serious issue.

Taking a cue from Rajasthan, the Haryana government is shamelessly suppressing the labour rights and openly taking pro-capitalist stand. In the last two months, more than 20 workers have lost their lives in half-a-dozen accidents at works places. There has been no action or arrest of owners in any of the cases.

The government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on peacefully and legitimately struggling employees of electricity department. It is noteworthy that, in view of hot weather and sowing season, employees have promised to maintain essential services and even would attend to complaints during their two-day strike on June 29-30. Invoking ESMA is totally out of context. It is an expression of intolerance to any voice of justice and a psychology of dictatorship. At the same time, the agitation of employees has got an encouraging support from people, including political parties, panchayats and mass organisations. It brings no name to the government that about 150 workers and employees have either died or become crippled in worksite accidents while attending to repair work on electricity poles and transmission lines. No help or compensation was given to any of these workers. The life has lost its value and meaning in the maze of contract system. Why not an ESMA on criminally faulting companies that has slapped a sudden reduction of 25 per cent in power supply.

The worst aspect is the naked attempt of BJP government to hijack and defunct the democratic institutions. The recently held election of two seats of Rajya Sabha in Haryana speaks enough of sinister designs of BJP towards the parliamentary democracy. It should be taken as a forecast of the things to come.

The BJP had the voting strength for one candidate and some votes to spare. Opposition INLD and Congress had a combined strength for their candidate advocate R K Anand to get past the post. BJP deliberately fielded media baron Subhash Chandra as its second candidate. He had no chance of winning. Everybody was stunned to find that 12 votes of Congress MLAs were rejected through a stage-managed conspiracy of changing the ink-pen in the midst of voting. The result was surprisingly announced in favour of the media baron, a person otherwise infamous. This election of Rajya Sabha seat in Haryana is enough to indicate the shape of things to come. It is a naked and shameless attempt to demolish all the democratic processes and institutions. It is not just an isolated incident intended to increase BJP’s strength in Rajya Sabha to sail smooth in service of the corporates. The government and the Election Commission had fallen in line to commit a fraud on the democratic process of the country. It is a uniquely big and serious exercise of dictatorial dimensions.

Votes of 12 legislators of Congress were rejected on the basis of marking with a blue pen instead of the designated violet ink. As a conspiracy was hatched, the pen was replaced by a BJP legislator while casting his vote. The BJP had claimed the victory of Chandra in advance as they knew of the conspiracy. The original pen was again placed at voting counter after 12 Congress MLAs had voted. It was done in the same manner as the previous replacement.

During counting, the BJP polling agent raised the issue of marking with a different ink. He knew it already. The returning officer cancelled the 12 votes and immediately declared the election of Chandra leaving a big question mark. It is not merely a matter of law. The Election Commission of India should take a serious view and make effective intervention. All the political parties believing in democracy should earnestly take up this issue.

It needs to be remembered in this context that the BJP government in Haryana a few weeks ago had clandestinely mutilated the eligibility criteria for Panchayati Raj elections. The CPI(M) had then stated that this anti-people act of BJP was just in accordance with its ideology and character. It was proved beyond doubt when the BJP deceitfully captured all the positions of heads of district councils, municipal committees and block samitis. Similarly they are trying to capture and install ABVP on students unions through indirect elections declared recently.

In this situation of attack on people’s livelihood, their democratic rights and social harmony, the Haryana state committee of CPI(M) has decided  to launch a wide scale agitation. Jathas will be organised in each of the 21 districts from July 15 to July 31. Mass meetings have been planned at about 200 places to reach out to about 1,000 villages. (END)