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CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

 

FROM THE DIRECTOR'S DESK
SEEMA MUSTAFA | 25 JUNE, 2014

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav is doing what all governments do when cornered — transfer the officials. So the police is being pushed around from one corner to the others, as if somehow this will produce the magic wand for the Yadav's to regain control of their state.

Akhilesh Yadav perhaps is naïve and too inexperienced to know — as his father certainly does — that with decades of politicisation there is not much left to choose from the police force. Everyone in UP knows also that at the time of recruitments lakhs of rupees are collected by the recruiting officers and their political cronies from the aspirants, who then spend the rest of their lives in the tenure collecting money, partly to pay back and partly to ensure their post retirement futures.

The result is a largely inefficient, corrupt and politicised police force that then also succumbs to the pull and pressures of communalism and casteism. A large state like UP cannot be controlled by such a police, and a similar administration, unless the political will exists and is applied with an iron hand. Muzaffarnagar was a recent indication of how the system collapses when the politician is unable to take control, and how the police meshes with forces inimical to peace and amity. Akhilesh Yadav and his father Mulayam Singh were completely out of their depth in one, preventing the violence that could have been done at the initial stages, and then controlling it, and then rehabilitating the victims with dignity and justice.

Mulayam Singh never got tired of telling any and every political leader who met him at that time how the administration and police was in cahoots with the perpetrators of the violence, how they were not listening to him and his son, and basically how helpless the politician had become in the face of all this.

Similarly in Badaun, one was of course the police that refused to register the case, and created considerable tension in the process. It took a public outcry for the police to move against the Yadav's who had raped and hung two young Dalit girls from a tree, and it took that much time for the state government to proceed against the police officers who had tried to hush up the case by refusing to file an FIR in the first place.

Now given the continuing violence from different parts of the state in the form of communal tensions, rape and just plain albeit serious incidents of law and order, the state government has finally realised that it cannot survive the times without at least attempting to put its house in order. The current round of transfers and postings of the police is a vague attempt in that direction. It is not going to work as the Samajwadi party leadership has become too cliquish, too lazy, too corrupt and disinterested to respond to the masses of Uttar Pradesh.

The Bharatiya Janata Party that has swept the state, decimating all other parties, in the Lok Sabha polls is breathing down the Yadav's necks. It cannot be blamed for this, as it senses a major opportunity, and by highlighting all that is going wrong in UP can certainly hope to create a situation where the dismissal of the state government and imposition of President's rule in UP remains the only recourse. The Yadav's can be trusted to provide sufficient ammunition to the BJP to proceed along these lines, and ensure that the state is brought under central control sooner than later.

In Bihar, Janata Dal (U) leader Nitish Kumar did manage to fob off the BJP by maintaining a strong control over the administration, and ensuring that immediate action was taken if and where an incident did occur. This is more than possible, as said earlier, if the politicians are not lost in their own world, and make it clear that they are in command and control and the administration and the police has no alternative but to follow their diktat. It is indeed regrettable to find that senior leaders of the ruling party do not even bother to visit the affected spots, and by camping there ensure prompt and effective action.

The Yadav's will have to realise, and somehow this understanding does not seem to have seeped in as yet, that the public opinion against them across India is building slowly. And it is imperative that they pull up their socks and start governing, instead of looking out for cronies, and nurturing muscle and money power. The defiance in the face of big crime also does not help with Mulayam Singh's "men will be men" remark in the context of heinous rape, and his son's "you are safe aren't you" response to questions on the Badaun hanging drawing ire from all sections of society.

These statements also show how out of sync the Yadavs have become with the concepts of justice, equality, and of course democracy with their intolerance now visible on their sleeves. The BJP, after its amazing performance in the Lok Sabha elections, has tasted blood and would like to force President's rule and an early election. The pressure is going to intensify on the state government as the days turn into weeks.

It is clear that the Yadav's are in no position to deliver, and while it is still early days yet, the writing is becoming more and more legible on the wall.

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