Banking on “clean image” of its newly-inducted Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri, the Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to beat the anti-incumbency factor in poll-bound Uttarakhand.
With Anna Hazare's Jan Lokpal movement still fresh in people's minds, Mr. Khanduri is making all efforts to assure people that his government is committed to tackling corruption.
To drive home this point, Mr. Khanduri has already got the Uttarakhand Lokayukta Bill 2011 passed in the State Assembly, which incidentally is a replica of Team Anna's Jan Lokpal Bill, besides getting laws passed on transfers/postings and on citizens charter to check corruption.
He has also created a “good governance, corruption eradication and public service department” under the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) to look into all corruption-related cases and streamline the functioning of all government departments.
“I know there is not much time left to implement all policies that I have envisaged for the State, still there is a sense of satisfaction that I have ensured enactment of laws that will effectively deal with the issue of corruption. The new anti-corruption laws will ensure that no one can bypass the system or else he will have to face the courts of law. And to ensure that guilty gets punished, we have created special courts to deal with corruption-related cases in a time-bound manner,” Mr. Khanduri told The Hindu .
“No witch hunt”
Asked what action his government is planning against his predecessor Ramesh Pokhriyal against whom serious corruption charges have been levelled, Mr. Khanduri said he does not believe in the politics of “witch-hunt', so no Commission would be appointed for probe as demanded by the Opposition parties. “Court cases are going on…the law will take its own course. My focus is on improving the system…the State Government is committed to root out corruption and we are taking all steps to meet this objective,” he said.
Though the retired Army general concedes that the public has been losing confidence on the current mechanism of governance, Mr. Khanduri is still confident that his initiatives would bring back people to the BJP's fold and help the party win elections this time too. “The Congress-led Centre has failed on all fronts -- corruption, price rise, black money and development. There is no doubt that price rise and rampant corruption will be two major issues in Uttarakhand elections, but we will also highlight the step-motherly treatment of the Congress towards Uttarakhand. The Centre has failed to revive our industrial package and there has also been lack of financial support to us,” he added.
Referring to “infighting” within the BJP State unit, Mr. Khanduri said this phenomenon was common to both BJP and the Congress in the State.
“In our party the Central leadership takes decisions after consulting all concerned, which are followed by leaders and workers alike. As elections near, the BJP State unit will emerge as a cohesive force and work towards party's victory in Uttarakhand…but this cannot be said about our rivals (Congress),” the Chief Minister added.