Doon mayor, DM ‘spat’; babu-neta chasm out
Dehradun mayor and MLA Vinod Chamoli’s public spat with the district magistrate over a liquor shop has put the spotlight on alleged strained relations between public representatives and bureaucracy in the statedehradun Updated: Sep 08, 2017 20:35 IST
Dehradun mayor and MLA Vinod Chamoli’s public spat with the district magistrate over a liquor shop has put the spotlight on alleged strained relations between public representatives and bureaucracy in the state.
On Wednesday, Chamoli sat on a protest at the district collectorate to seek closure of a liquor shop in his constituency, but lost his cool when district magistrate SA Murugesan met him after about two hours.
Though the district magistrate insisted that he was caught up with some important meetings” which led to the delay, an enraged Chamoli immediately sought chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat’s intervention to seek an “apology” from Murugesan.
A video of an aggressive Chamoli speaking to Rawat on phone has since gone viral on social media and has been evoking criticism for the mayor’s use of “harsh language” against the DM.
This is not the first incident of BJP ministers or MLAs protesting against bureaucrats in the state.
Prior to this, ministers Satpal Mahraj, Rekha Arya and other party MLAs have openly spoken against alleged high-handedness of bureaucracy.
“It suggests not all is well within the (BJP) government...neither the system is working efficiently nor public representatives are being heard in the triple engine government,” said Dehradun-based political observer Jay Singh Rawat.
The controversy also seems to have played into the hands of the Congress, which has accused the BJP leaders of “behaving indecently” with and “pressurising” public servants.
“The behaviour of the mayor has put the BJP government in the dock... when a ruling party leader has to resort to such actions, it raises a question on the entire system,” said Congress leader Suryakant Dhasmana.
While the BJP appears to have distanced itself from the controversy in which the mayor is seen targeting the functioning of his own government, the clash has also left the ruling party on a sticky wicket.
It was just last month when a violent scuffle between supporters of minister Mahraj and Haridwar mayor Manoj Garg (who is a protégé of minister Madan Kaushik) had left the saffron party red-faced.
And now, this incident involving the Dehradun mayor has caused another embarrassment for the ruling party, just ahead of BJP’s national president Amit Shah’s visit to the state.
When contacted, BJP state unit president Ajay Bhatt claimed that the state’s bureaucracy was very much “under control”.
“They are working as per instructions given by the state government.” He, however, added that the mayor should not have got himself into an “unnecessary dispute”.
“He is not just a mayor but also a ruling party legislator and I don’t think he should have gone (to DM’s office) at all to protest...anyway, the problem arose because of lack of communication (between mayor and DM). He (Chamoli) was under a lot of pressure as an MLA but the DM, too was busy in important meetings,” Bhatt told HT.
Bhatt, however, asserted that there was a “lakshman rekha” for both officials and public representatives to follow.
“Officers should respect public representatives, but they (leaders), too, should remain within their limits,” he said.
HT tried contacting the mayor and the DM, but calls to both went unanswered.