Power games: AAP’s Relationship with the Bureaucracy in Delhiby OPINIONEXPRESS.IN June 22, 2018 0 comments
All is well when everything ends with positive things. Now, Delhi’s Bureaucracy and AAP should work together.
They have agreed to disagree on a few things but agreed to work on deliverables. The truce between the AAP Government in Delhi and the bureaucracy, howsoever temporary, has brought relief among Delhiites, who are clueless about the direction the civic administration is taking. Not unknown to many, there are unmet challenges of summer pollution, transportation and the crumbling health infrastructure that need urgent looking into. Already water wars, dengue and malaria have reared their ugly heads. Although both sides claimed that they have been working, with optics of files being signed and moved, the fact is there has been no convergence, leave aside congruence, between the Kejriwal Government and bureaucrats ever since Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly assaulted by AAP MLAs about four months ago. Now after his prolonged sit-in at the LG’s office and the latter’s intervention, Chief Minister Kejriwal has promised security to his officers. While it is true that Delhi lacks full statehood and the LG’s office is not bound to heed the council of ministers, fact is both the Government of the day, the bureaucracy and the LG have to find an operable space for smooth functioning of the nation’s Capital rather than scoring brownie points over each other and playing the game of who’s the boss. Both would gain from mutual efficiencies in the end. And whatever the rulebook says about comparative powers, one must realise that AAP has the people’s mandate and the bureaucracy must show some respect towards it rather than antagonising the people and making them hate the establishment it represents. In fact, bureaucrats have a shot at leaving their own legacies. Delhi Metro will forever be known for E Sreedharan, a public servant, rather than the enablers in the Government.
Similarly, AAP, which has used agitationist tactics to get what it wants, must realise that its ministers need to build more credibility in governance rather than behaving like an Opposition party. That will only invite criticism about it being an attention-seeking party that endorses the personality cult while failing to honour the core job it has been tasked with. Continuing his crusade for Delhi’s statehood under the Constitution, Kejriwal must not forget that he could work effectively in existing authorised areas and would be seen as more of a doer than going after Central bureaucrats or police officers. By the time elections take place, his outcome will depend solely on how he governed despite the challenges, his dharma of delivering to his voters, rather than his aggressive dharnas that may grab headlines but end up alienating his own vote base. Already the spoiler card has cost AAP its image and overshadowed its positive performance in building transparency and accountability into the system and statistically proving how leakages can be stopped. All the AAP needs now is sound execution within the sphere it has and showing demonstrable evidence of its good intentions. All eyes are on Delhi as the Capital and governance templates here are more likely to get emulated. Therefore, the bureaucracy must stop being politically exploitative and the AAP must give up the idea of “teaching them a lesson” and work with the mindset of a healthy competition.