No to corruption

Punjab today shows the way in many respects, thanks mainly to the winds of change that Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann heading the AAP government in the state since March this year has unleashed. It’s a little more than two months that this government is wielding power, but a sea change as regards the cleansing of public life is evident there. The sacking of a minister after the CM got wind of his attempt to take a one per cent cut in a government tender was swift as well as affirmative. The minister was put under arrest immediately after being sacked. All this happened in no more than 10 days after the CM received a complaint about wrong-doing. In normal course, what any other CM would do is order an inquiry and buy time, if only to facilitate a clean chit to the minister. Mann and AAP have shown that they are different.
Notably, this is cited to be the second instance in this country where such a sacking of a minister has taken place over a corruption allegation. The first was when Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sacked a minister in 2015 over corrupt charges. Point to note is, when a chief minister himself is above board, he acts in a tough manner. Allegations fly around in several states that the chief ministers themselves are hugely corrupt. The systems in India are such that they can easily get away with their act. The large army of crooks is having a hand in the honeypot. Much of the loot by politicos is done under the cover of fund collections for the respective parties; most of such money however goes into their own pockets. As in the case of Punjab now, taking a cut for every deal and for every tender has become common practice among those running governments. When ministers are corrupt, bureaucrats take the cue and feel free to engage in more corruption and bribe-taking.
To say that Mann has sent a strong message to the wider political segment or to governing establishments might be wishful thinking. The UPA periods had been known to be hugely corrupt, but the lid was off only when the CAG came up with bombshells. When an upright individual occupies such a position, there will be spilling of beans or tumbling of skeletons from the government’s cupboards. That there is ‘silence of the grave’ now does not necessarily mean things have improved. Rather, there is every indication that the spectre of corruption is steadily growing in this country.

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