Monday, February 16, 2015

UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav shows bribe video to his chief secretary; will there be any action?

TWO years ago, while speaking at the IAS Week in Lucknow, UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav asked senior officers to analyse why they were no longer “greeted with respect” at the Centre, as there was a slide in number of UP cadre IAS in New Delhi. His tone was mild and it was more of an appeal to the officers for introspection. Last week, Yadav was speaking at the same function, and he sounded quite restless on two counts—
corruption and law and order, both of which might turn as the big challenges as UP begins preparation of the 2017 assembly polls. Many IAS officers in fact were shocked when the CM said he was in possession of a video that shows a senior bureaucrat accepting bribe. He, however, did not name the officer. He said, the video is stored in his WhatsApp and he could play it anytime. The chief minister further claimed that he had already shown the video to the state chief secretary. It’s not yet clear whether the chief minister or the chief secretary would order a probe on authenticity of the video, and if it is found true, will the official concerned be punished?
Speaking at the function, the chief minister expressed his concern on the law and order situation of the state. He said law and order is the prime responsibility of district magistrates and superintendents of police. He directed the babus to accord top priority to the maintenance of law and order as a precursor to development. Understandably, his speech was delivered keeping in mind the 2017 assembly poll in the state, as the BJP is likely to accord top priority to the state that sends as many as 80 Lok Sabha MPs and is considered hugely significant, politically.
Yadav further said that 90 per cent of the problems that ordinary citizens face every day are related to district headquarters, tehsils, blocks or thanas. He asked officials to remain present in their offices between 10 am to 12 noon so that they could listen to the people’s problems and try to resolve those.
Though his speech was largely sceptical, CM, however, showered praise on a least three senior IAS -- Navneet Sehgal, CEO of Uttar Pradesh Industrial and Expressway Development Authority, Jawed Usmani, chairman of the state revenue board, and Sunil Kumar, principal secretary in the department of social welfare.
In two earlier occasions of IAS Week celebration, chief minister Yadav also played cricket on behalf of CM’s XI against the Chief Secretary XI. In this babu-neta friendly match, Yadav won the man of the match prize twice. In last year, it was a photo finish, and IAS officers lost the match by just two runs forcing many to comment that it was a “fixed” match to make the chief minister happy!

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