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Corruption integral part of coalition era, asserts Omar
HT Leadership Summit
11/21/2012 12:26:43 AM
EARLY TIMES REPORT
JAMMU, Nov 20: Ghulam Nabi Azad took over as Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir on November 5, 2007. Immediately after assuming office, he visited New Delhi and addressed some selected media persons. One of the issues that he raised during his interaction with press persons concerned the scourge of corruption. Reflecting on the issue of corruption which has adversely impacted the socio-economic and political scene with sections of politicians, bureaucrats, corporate houses, land mafia and other well connected persons exploiting the system and amassing wealth on an unprecedented scale, Azad told reporters that "those who are honest are inefficient and those who are dishonest (corrupt) are efficient". What he told reporters obviously encouraged corrupt elements in the state and discouraged those known for honesty and probity in public life. He was perhaps the first politician in the country who virtually accorded official legitimacy to the scourge of corruption. What he told almost five years ago constitutes one part of the story and it is highly disgusting and disturbing.
The other part of the story is no less disgusting and disturbing. The case in point is the speech that Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah delivered at the Hindustan Times-sponsored Leadership Summit in which many persons from different walks of life, including former Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf, took part. Addressing the participants, Omar Abdullah said that it was impossible to eradicate corruption in a coalition government. "It is impossible to eradicate corruption in a coalition government, as 'trade-offs' become necessary in such a dispensation," Omar said on November 18 at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit programme titled "what India needs: Perspective of Young Leaders".
It is a different story that Omar Abdullah did not reflect on the situation in the state before PDP president and former Union Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed formed coalition government in the state on November 2, 2002 with the help of the Congress party, Panthers Party, newly-founded group of some Independent MLAs and the CPI-M. The CPI-M extended support to the government from outside. Omar Abdullah, who, it seems, has been deeply influenced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's views on corruption at the highest level, sought to create an impression that there was no corruption in the state when his grandfather and father and other Kashmiri leaders like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad, Mir Qasim, G M Sadiq and G M Shah were at the helm. There was rampant corruption even when these leaders ruled the state. Even Sheikh Abdullah, Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and G M Shah were not above-board. Each one of them promoted and rewarded corrupt elements in their own way. The only difference was that the issue of corruption had not assumed such dangerous proportions as has been the case in the state and at the centre, particularly since May 2004, when the Congress under the leadership of Manmohan Sing formed UPA government in New Delhi. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said again and again that the "compulsions" of coalition politics has been the main cause responsible for the evil of corruption.
Now that Omar Abdullah has stated in unambiguous terms that it is impossible to eradicate corruption in coalition government, it is time for those fighting against this menace in the state to keep their mouths and eyes shut and watch the politics of loot and plunder as mute spectators. For, there is none in the Indian political establishment who is prepared to promote probity in public life. Leave everything to the care of judiciary and the ever-alert and vibrant fourth estate, as they are our last hope.
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