Probity in public life

Kerala Transport Minister Oman Chandy has resigned following allegations of his involvement in a land grab case. He belongs to the NCP. What should be more embarrassing for the NCP leadership is that Chandy’s predecessor A. K. Saseendran who had to resign after a sex scandal surfaced, also belonged to the NCP. Indeed a full-fledged cabinet crisis developed over the Chandy resignation issue after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was found to have given more time to Chandy to ‘consult` his party. The CPI, a constituent of the LDF Government, was in no mood to delay Chandy’s resignation. The party asked its four ministers to boycott the next Cabinet meeting if Chandy’s resignation was not accepted. Chandy is the third minister to have resigned from the LDF Government.
The venality of the ministers and law-makers is nothing new. Once upon a time, leaders of the Left parties commanded immense respect of the people. But once they were elected to positions of power, they were found to be as greedy and venal as any other brand of politicians.. In the case of Kerala, the LDF Government is facing a strong challenge from the BJP and its mentor the RSS. Both sides are killing each other’s workers and the political atmosphere in the State has become charged with violence. What is expected of the LDF ministers is strict observance of the rules of probity in public life. They have not only to be honest, but must seen to be honest. In politics or any field of public life, public perception of the politician is a factor that has to be reckoned with.
One of the major causes of the end of the three-and-a-half-decades-old rule of the Left Front Government in West Bengal was the corruption of the ministers and functionaries of the constituent parties of the LF. The bigger parties made more money, while the smaller ones made less.  Only in Left-ruled Tripura, has no accusing finger been raised against any minister for corruption. In West Bengal, individual leaders like Promode Dasgupta or Benoy Choudhury were uncorrupted and incorruptible but most of their colleagues could not resist the temptation of power and pelf. Mega corruption indulged in by ministers in the UPA Governments brought about its downfall in the 2014 general elections and the rise of the NDA led by the BJP. Despite these instances the politicians as a class have learnt nothing and continue to indulge in corruption whenever they get a chance.

Thursday, 16 November, 2017