Honesty, after all, may be the best policy. At least that's what Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati seems to be saying after a post-mortem of her Bahujan Samaj Party's (BSP) losses in the Lok Sabha polls suggested that rampant corruption may have taken a toll.
In damage control mode now, Mayawati has despatched a three-member team of bureaucrats handpicked by her to spread the message of "no tolerance" for corruption.
A team comprising additional cabinet secretary Vijay Shankar Pandey, principal home secretary Kunwar Fateh Bahadur and deputy inspector general of police Jasvir Singh launched its anti-corruption campaign this week when they went to Varanasi to hold a meeting with local police and revenue officials.
"The objective behind the chief minister's mission is to make government functionaries realise that bribery of any kind will not be tolerated," Pandey told IANS.
The exercise which began from Varanasi was carried out in Firozabad on Wednesday with all local government functionaries - district magistrate and superintendent of police downwards.
"You will neither give bribe to anyone nor accept bribes under any circumstances" is what the officials were told.
Officials at all levels were told, "The chief minister wants to make it clear that you have to put an end to bribery - don't accept or demand bribes from anyone and if any of your superiors demand bribes, report it directly to us. You may rest assured that the chief minister is not going to spare such a person."
The chief minister's special envoys are stated to have emphasised "deterrent punishment will follow against those who refuse to mend their ways and continue to indulge in corrupt practices, causing hindrances in official delivery systems".
Mayawati has also asked top cops to ensure that the common man's grievances do not go unheard.
"Punitive action will follow against officials who fail to respond to the complaints of common people or refuse to register their FIRs," said Pandey, who had once spearheaded a powerful campaign to identify the three most corrupt administrative officers in Uttar Pradesh.
While the three-member special team is running its "no bribe" campaign, the chief minister has also detailed some of her select officers to visit each of the state's 72 districts to monitor the pace of various development schemes.
To ensure that the visit does not remain just a perfunctory exercise, handpicked officers of the rank of principal secretary were assigned to spend two full days in the districts and submit a report.
"This has surely helped us get a detailed picture of the state of various development programmes, to identify the stumbling blocks as also to find ways of clearing the hurdles," observed Shailesh Krishna, principal secretary to the chief minister, after returning from his two-day camp in Jaunpur from where he chose to start the exercise.
Mayawati's BSP won only 20 of the state's 80 parliamentary seats in the 15th Lok Sabha polls.