It’s been two years since Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy began his historic padayatra across Andhra Pradesh that catapulted him to power with an impressive majority in the Assembly elections held just five months ago. The occasion was celebrated on Wednesday with cakes and smiles but beneath the surface, there’s certainly unease among Jagan’s colleagues in the YSRC as also among the public. For that, the government has only itself to blame, stumbling as it is from one controversy to another every other week.
The latest is the unceremonious transfer of the chief secretary L V Subramanyam who was seen to be slowing down, if not hampering, the pace of the government. Dealing with bureaucracy is a challenge for any politician as the mandarins could cite the rulebook to make or break any policy. In the instant case, the senior bureaucrat is known to be a stickler for rules and by all accounts, he was merely being the quintessential babu.
The government could have given him an honourable way out instead of treating him the way it has. If its purpose was to send a message to the other bureaucrats to fall in line, the government could be in for a rude awakening. Governance could become more difficult with officials running circles around ministers. This is not to say that the government should tolerate officials even if they are non-cooperative. One could be tough as well as tactful.
Nobody doubts the intentions of the government. After all, it’s now well accepted that Jagan has curbed graft at the top and is going full throttle to bring about a visible change in governance through various programmes like Spandana and Naadu-Nedu. The tragedy is that most of his successful initiatives are being overshadowed by unnecessary controversies. The other case in point is the GO issued recently empowering secretaries in all departments to drag media houses to court for publishing any news considered defamatory. The logic of it defies explanation since there are laws for defamation already in existence. The irony of it all is handing more power to officials while trying to rein them in.