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The Gujarat Model of Corruption: Better than other states?

July 19, 2015

This is all hear-say, but its shocking how many people are saying it, and how openly it is being accepted as bearing truth without much doubt (even if with disgust).

Heard that the present PM, by leaving, has ruined the semblance of governance that existed in the year before he left. From people who, at one point, were so blind in their hope that they wouldn’t hear one word of advice. So what happened? Let’s go over a bit of history:

Long before national election

Gujarat had a good feeling about it’s new CM because of the efficiency he showed in dealing with Earthquake of 2001 since his arrival in October*. Initially, many officers were heard mentioning that they had received instructions from the CM to process the files before papers turn yellow… seen as a good sign by many if not all.

A clean CM?

There was no mention of him or any channel leading to him when discussing kickbacks. Even as that was surprising, it lasted long enough to begin sounding credible.

Time and again people wondered if it was possible to go on like that, not taking, and not letting anyone else take, any money.

The complaints from traders, trade associations and businesses about BJP decreased. (That under Congress, at least work got done after paying a bribe, whereas when BJP came to power, they got so busy in amassing money that work came to a standstill in government)

Then came noises that the power was so centralised that the local level politicians had stopped mattering. All the power went to Babus, and local political structures were left shaken.

The work of centralising power at Gandhinagar was gaining momentum. And fewer people were actually heard praising the work than those organising/ noticing the propaganda events. But still a handful were talking about how the CM understands the need for professionals and quick decision making, and how he doesn’t tolerate nonsense.

Before National Elections

That number went down gradually and nothing of the sort was heard in the year leading up to national elections.

Before that year, and during that year, more and more people started complaining about their discomfort and about the need to know someone in Gandhinagar. Things slowed down, as they do in the run up of national elections. Even when not many anticipated the present government to get a clear majority, there were discussions about collectors being given quotas to collect and to send money up to Gandhinagar.

There were references to all norms and standards evaporating, and all those in positions of power doing pretty much as they pleased. The government that prided itself in putting capable (and often honest) people in key positions when push came to shove faltered, or was perhaps beyond caring, knowing this was a do or die.

New Government… and a year of placidity

Then came the new, majority, BJP government. And Gujarat was to have a new CM in over a decade. From the first day, there was anxiety over what would become of the state amidst a turf war between the supporters of two of the most steadfast deputies of the new PM.

Now, after a little over a year, there are complaints from all quarters about corruption and inability of the new structure to act, or reign in the rampant greed.

All the CMs like Jaylalitha, Vasundhara Raje, Pawar, Yadav and Mayawati were heard (long before the scandals erupted publicly) to have routes and channels. But nothing is heard about Gujarat.

Is Gujarat ahead of others, again?

*(The recovery after Earthquake needs to be compared to the pre-October scenario under Keshubhai Patel, and the way the Tamil Nadu government dealt with offers of help post Tsunami of 2004.)

From → Quo Vadis, Systems, Trivia

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