Sunday, July 5, 2009

Maya's Maya

It is simply amazing how an individual can make a mockery of the entire government machinery and manipulate it to suit one's own pursuits. I am of course talking about the one-in-only Behenji who has made the state exchequer her own pocket money to turn most of UP into a "statue state". Probably it is a befitting indicator of state of affairs in UP. While the honorable CM is blatantly misusing the government machinery to fill up her pockets and establish a "Maya only" rule in the state, all others are expected to behave as statues and keep quiet. But what baffles me all the more is how come none of the political parties did not speak about it when she started spending billions of rupees on her "iconic pursuits"? Why did they open their mouths only after the elections were over and when it was clear that Behenji is not even a marginal player anymore, forget the king maker's role that was anticipated before the elections? Why did our leaders have to keep quiet till the inauguration date of these parks and statues, an instance of the most gross misuse of public money in recent history? Just to earn some additional brownie points and get some political mileage? At least an intervention a couple of months ago would have saved a few millions from the state exchequer!
Finally it took a PIL from one of the commoners for to make the entire country stand up and take notice. Again two things clearly come out of this: 1)Our political parties, irrespective of their so-called "morals" and "affiliations", cannot be trusted, and 2)In spite of our judicial system being one of the most slowest in the world, it still works!
I wonder what came to Mayawati's mind when she thought about littering the entire state with tonnes and tonnes of stone. If she really wanted to make her name and make people remember her, won't it have been more fruitful to spend the billions on schools and hospitals named after her and Kanshi Ram? What about a "Maya education scheme" where all school going kids from the weaker sections get an additional stipend on top of free education? Or maybe a "Kanshi Ram UP nirmaan" scheme, where village panchayats can get aid from government for panchayat-led infrastructure improvement projects in the village? Talking of social empowerment, special courts could be set up to deal with cases involving the people from weaker sections of the society to ensure fast-track redressal of cases. But social empowerment has never been on Behenji's agenda. While her own purse has swelled over the past decade to crores of rupees, the people in the state who vote her, are still looking up to her to fulfill those elusive promises.
I have been thinking about what could be the possible answers from Behenji's stable once she has to give an explanation for this gross laundering of public money. I am already in for a surprise with the first shot from her gun-that these parks and statues are being developed as tourist hot spots. Tourist hot spots? Behenji, it's high time you got right your sense of what tourists look for. It's no wonder why the state hardly draws any tourists in spite of a rich cultural heritage of the Hindi heartland and Mughlai influence in and around Lucknow. May be another explanation she will come up with, will be that through these statues and parks, she gave employment to thousands of stone carvers and construction workers who have been losing business of late. Hence, it is a targeted "package" for a specific community.
Of course this sounds ridiculous but trust Behenji to come up with even more ridiculous reasoning. But can anyone stop this misuse of money and ensure the state exchequer is spent where it ought to be-ensuring the basic needs of people like healthcare, housing, education, jobs, are met? Can the central government or the courts step up and stop this rampant mockery of governance? Unfortunately I don't trust the former and the latter has too little power in its hands.