Okay, here's our verdict: Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a weak prime minister.
He would rather rest on his haunches than remove sloth and slime from his administration. Post-Tehelka, his failure to set his house in order underlines this vital flaw.
Weeks have elapsed. But Singh continues in South Block.
An IAS officer of the Bihar cadre, we had hoped to see the last of him on January 31, when he was due to retire.
But Vajpayee struck, granting him an indefinite extension!
Why should it take the PM so long to remove a superannuated official? Is Nandubabu, as he is known in Bihari circles, pressurising Vajpayee to retain his services through his legion of powerful friends?
Looks like it. Recently a BJP member of the Lok Sabha from Bihar, Dr Madan Prasad Jaiswal, held a press conference in New Delhi to seek Singh's ouster. But so pervasive is the latter's influence -- he reckons among his friends newspaper owners and senior editors, you see -- that hardly any publication took note of it.
Keshubhai proposes, Vajpayee disposes
While on the topic, here is another proof of Vajpayee's fondness for taking the path of least resistance.
Following the Gujarat earthquake, the state had requisitioned the services of senior IAS officer Shyamal Ghosh, presently the petroleum secretary at the Centre. Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel wanted Ghosh as the state chief secretary.
Though he was reluctant to leave New Delhi being a Gujarat cadre officer, Ghosh had little or no choice. It is the prerogative of a state government to decide whether or not to loan the services of its officers to the Centre.
But Ghosh and Minister for Telecommunications Ram Vilas Paswan get along very well. So Paswan was persuaded to plead with Vajpayee that Ghosh be allowed to stay put.
Vajpayee instantly relented, thus foiling the Gujarat government's move.
Sinha was right!
Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha is vindicated by the recent arrest of Central Board of Excise and Customs Chairman B P Verma,
He was appointed the CBEC head against Sinha's wishes. Now cooling his heels in a New Delhi jail, Verma was the candidate of an officer at the PMO.
The way of the Dixit
The efficiency of Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dixit's government was proved recently, when commuters in the capital had to forgo work want of public transport.
But that is not the only proof. The state of the roads in Nizamuddin East, Dixit's residential area, is another case in point. She is personally aware that the roads are in a state of grave disrepair.
The roads were in fairly good order till about six months ago when the contractors of an industrial house began to dig all over for laying optic fibre cables. By the time they finished, they had virtually rendered a good half of the road unusable.
Now, six months later, the roads are still unusable despite repeated reminders to Dixit. The last time she promised to have them re-laid "within a month" was in December 2000!
Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
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