JAIPUR: Rajasthan government’s programme to felicitate over 6,000 constables recently promoted to head constables has ignited a new political row.
The event organised at Rajasthan Police Academy on Wednesday had the police department arrange free accommodation and food for the invited head constables and their two family members — 18,000 people— from September 18 -20.While constables were earlier required to complete a cadre course to become eligible for promotions, the state government had recently ruled that police personnel be moved to higher positions on the basis of their seniority.
All the constables who were handed promotions at the event were said to have completed 18 years in service.
Targeting Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, the Congress has claimed that the programme was a mere PR exercise to appease government employees with taxpayers’ money in the run-up to the Assembly elections in the state.
In a letter addressed to Chief Secretary DB Gupta, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot alleged that Raje’s programmes amounted to “misusing government machinery” in order to help the BJP gain traction ahead of the Assembly election.
“Such promotions should be granted after constables have completed their cadre course, but the government is in a hurry. It wants to gain political mileage for the electoral battle ahead,” said Gehlot.
A public interest litigation was also filed in the High Court by city-based advocate Pramod Singh over the misuse of funds on the event with a view to woo the police personnel before elections. The court had given relief to the government to conduct the programme on the condition that the expenses incurred for the event would have to be submitted before the court.
This is the third such event organised in the last few weeks by the Raje government. Sanitation workers were felicitated in a grand ceremony earlier this month and then teachers, appointed during Raje’s tenure, were felicitated on Teacher’s Day.
The government, however, sees nothing wrong with the decision.
“The promotions have been done for the good of the people. It was a part of the budget announcement, and govt believes in fulfilling what it promised”, BJP spokesperson, Rajendra Rathore said.