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Spotlight back on legislators, officials on collision course

In fact, a lack of coordination among officials and legislators has come to the fore with MLAs repeatedly “complaining” to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje about officials “not listening” to them.

Written by Mahim Pratap Singh | Jaipur |
January 28, 2016 3:42:07 am

Two separate incidents involving MLAs of the ruling BJP threatening government officials for acting against defaulters this month have brought the spotlight on increasing conflict between legislators and officials in Rajasthan.

In fact, a lack of coordination among officials and legislators has come to the fore with MLAs repeatedly “complaining” to Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje about officials “not listening” to them.

Earlier this month, some ministers too had reportedly vent their displeasure to BJP president Amit Shah while he was in town for a party event.

The latest incident, which saw an Assistant Engineer with the Jaipur Discom approaching the police for protection after an audio recording of Bundi MLA Ashok Dogra abusing and threatening him went viral, is reminiscent of a similar threat call to a health official by BJP MLA Prahlad Gunjal last year.

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Gunjal’s suspension from the party, which came nearly after the incident snowballed into a national controversy, was recently revoked on January 8.

Barely two weeks ago, a similar audio recording had surfaced, where Malpura (Tonk) MLA Kanhaiya Lal Chaudhary told a junior engineer to “stop bothering drought-hit farmers” or he would have to “deal with it himself”. “That junior engineer was extorting bribes from some poor, defaulting farmers. I had just asked him to fine them lightly but they came to me complaining he had taken Rs 10,000 each as bribes from them. So I called him and pulled him up,” Chaudhary told The Indian Express.

“I will be submitting some call recordings that I have made, to the chief minister, which will make it clear who was at fault. These officials harass people and when we, as people’s representatives, take up the matter, they resort to such tactics,” Chaudhary added.

The last major flashpoint between officials and legislators occurred last year during the government’s temple demolition drive for Jaipur Metro. The anti-government protest was then backed by the RSS and the Vishva Hindu Parishad.

The opposition Congress has used BJP MLAs’ public utterances to accuse Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje of centralizing power.

“The helplessness of BJP MLAs and ministers, including the home minister and other senior cabinet members, shows how centralized power has become under this government. Every decision flows out of the CM’s office and other legislators and ministers have absolutely no authority. Its a pathetic state of affairs,” PCC chief Sachin Pilot told The Indian Express.

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