I am a former civil servant, having retired from service in the early 1980s. Let me join the commentariat on l’affaire Bandyopadhyay. There is something called ‘tact’ on which comments are also recorded in the annual confidential report, or ACR, of government servants. Awkward situations arise, sometimes all of a sudden, which would need ‘tactful handling’ by those holding positions of responsibility. I believe the Chief Secretary (CS) could have risen to the occasion and prevented the embarrassing fallout, by handling the situation with greater tact. Having said that, it is difficult to believe that Mr. Alapan Bandyopadhyay would have reached the level of CS without ‘tact’ being in his armoury. So, what could have happened? Either he was over-exhausted or going through some inexplicable stress or caught in an ‘anxiety syndrome’ as to how to avoid, at the fag end of his career, being caught in a crossfire — though eventually finding himself in the thick of it.
The CS is nobody’s shadow nor is she or he a push-over. The service rules governing her or him are protective and not vindictive. She or he represents the entire permanent Executive of the State as its head. I believe Mr. Bandyopadhyay missed an opportunity to come out with a better score card. And for young civil servants, my word of advice. Ponder over this and come to your own conclusions.
The leadership of the Indian National Congress is not serious enough in keeping its flock together (Page 1, “Former Minister Jitin Prasada leaves Congress, joins BJP”, June 10). After its electoral debacle in West Bengal and its handling of the second wave of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bharatiya Janata Party is definitely is on the back foot. Any political party would have used this golden opportunity, worked smartly and turned the tide in its favour. But the Congress party just seems to continually stamp out the spark of an opportunity. If Rahul Gandhi really aspires to be in a serious figure in politics, he must learn to observe and practise some serious politics. The absence of a strong leadership in the Congress party is apparent. If the same situation continues, by the time the next general election comes, all mainstream leaders would have left the Congress party.
Mr. Prasada’s crossover is another sad pointer to the pathetic state of affairs in the Congress. It is bound to affect the fortunes of the party in the crucial State of Uttar Pradesh as the entry of Mr. Prasada is a shot in the arm for the BJP having faced setbacks in the U.P. local body elections along with facing the discontent of a section of party leaders against the style of functioning of Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
For the Congress, a beleaguered party that is yet to recover from the magnitude of electoral defeats in elections of every kind, the exodus of young and committed leaders is another indicator of deep crisis within the organisation. The pathetic slide of the one-time majestic Congress can be attributed to its total disconnect with the grassroots and its obstinate obsession to invoke dynastic politics to revive its electoral fortunes. Mr. Prasada’s departure should make the party nourish its grass roots, purge itself of power-brokers and sycophants, conduct organisational elections in a free and fair manner, and, above all, to usher in generational change in order to prevent a total disintegration.