THE CONGRESS today took the row over the presence of the chief secretary, the DGP and other senior officers at a Samajwadi Party function to the Centre and the Election Commission. Demanding action against the ‘guilty’ officers, including Naveen Chandra Bajpai and Bua Singh, the Congress said the official machinery had been converted into a “team of ruling party workers”.
In separate letters to Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami and UnionMinister of State for Personnel Suresh Pachauri, UP Congress Committee chief Salman Khurshid stated that free and fair Vidhan Sabha poll would not be possible under the Mulayam Singh Yadav Government. He alleged that officers were already behaving like party workers.
Khurshid accused the Chief Minister of trying to bring the official machinery into the party fold in view of the coming polls.
He said Jaunpur district magistrate Anurag Yadav had flagged off a Samajwadi Party ‘cycle yatra’, which was taken out to propagate the achievements of the Mulayam regime. Even programmes to distribute the ‘unemployment allowance’ and the Kanya Vidya Dhan were being organised under the banner and flag of the Samajwadi Party, he said. Khurshid added that senior administrative officers had been attending all these programmes.
Khurshid in his letter also referred to ‘past instances’ of the ruling party
influencing polls by misusing the official machinery and employing musclemen.
Besides taking up the issue with the Centre and the EC, the Congress also raised the matter in Vidhan Sabha today. Raising the issue, Congress Legislature Party leader Pramod Tiwari and party colleague Jagdambika Pal said the issue was very serious and should be discussed immediately.
By attending a function of a political party the officers had violated Constitutional provisions and the All India Services (Conduct) Rules, 1968, Tiwari said.
Cutting across party lines, leaders of all political parties supported Tiwari’s contention and demanded that Speaker Mata Prasad Pandey should allow an immediate discussion on the issue.
Leader of the Opposition Lalji Tandon such acts by senior officers would further narrow down the distinction between the political executive and the bureaucracy. He also demanded a discussion on the issue.
Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Azam Khan on the other hand defended the officers saying it was the prerogative of the Chief Minister to summon officers as and when he liked. Transport Minister Naresh Agarwal too defended the officers saying it was during the regime of the BJP-led Government that officers attended a meeting addressed by the then chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
The Speaker, however, rejected Tiwari’s demand saying the issue involved did in no way affect the proceedings of the House.