Dehradun : In a recent interview to an English regional daily, Karnataka chief minister, Siddaramaiah said that there will be zero toleration for corruption and we will take stern action against the offenders. Before we take tough measures, we ourselves must be honest, the chief minister and the ministers should be honest, and then ensure that the bureaucrats are honest, and then it will percolate down.
It is not something new. One will recall that this was oft repeated by former prime minister Ch Charan Singh who did not mince words and said that corruption percolates from the top to bottom and if it stopped there, it will stop all the way down.
Now that a Congress chief minister had said so, perhaps the leadership of Uttarakhand, where the party is also in power, will take note.
Ironically, zero tolerance to corruption, transparency in governancy and ensuring that the hopes and aspirations of the people remain rampant were promises made by the Congress party in the last vidhan sabha elections in this small mountain state.
This was also reiterated by its numerous state and central leaders who criss-crossed the state during the electioneering.
But has it happened. The first violation to the rule came when the party imposed Vijay Bahuguna as the chief minister, despite union minister Harish Rawat having the support of the majority of the elected Congress MLAs.
Then Bahuguna made his son Saket Bahuguna the party candidate for the by-election to the Tehri parliamentary constituency despite more experienced and able candidates.
And as far as ensuring that the bureaucrats are honest, is a far call that neither the chief minister not his cabinet colleagues can either vouch for or make efforts to do.
The obvious reason is that corruption in this state has become so rampant and is so evident from the highest echelons to the lowest rung of babudom, that the people have lost all hope of transparency in governance.
And this is not being said by the media alone, where a number of stories on the rampant corruption are published day in and day out, or the opposition, but the Congress leaders themselves.
Vidhan Sabha speaker, Govind Singh Kujwal has locked horns with the government and said that corruption is not only corroding, but eating into the very sinews of this state, which is still in its infancy.
And as far as development is concerned, something that the people of the state were keenly looking forward to in the hope that will ipen new opportunities and dimensions for their children, a number of party legislators are up in arms against the chief minister on the plea that no development work worth the name was being done in their assembly segments.
The fact of the situation is that no chief minister of Uttarakhand had either the vision to take the state top the heights that the people wanted it to achieve or was in know of the grass root prolems which needed top be tackled first head on, so that the small mountain state could be put on the path of progress and development.
It is a tragedy, but both the BJP and the Congress high command have imposed chief ministers on the state, without knowing whether they are in touch with the grass root realities and problems and have the wherewithal to remove them.
One cannot deny the fact that the neighbouring hill state, Himachal Pradesh, would not have become a model hill state for development, had it not been for the leadership of its first chief minister Dr Yashwant Parmar.