Chandigarh MP’s report card: Kirron Kher’s script has more flops, few hits
Though elected with much fanfare four years ago, Kirron Kher is still struggling to get a grip on the main problems that face the city.punjab Updated: May 26, 2018 10:18 IST
Four years after her election, Member of Parliament Kirron Kher is yet to fulfil most of her poll promises. The actor-turned-politician gave BJP its first win in 16 years when she defeated four-time MP and former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, spawning hope that the city would see massive development and change. But that has remained a pipedream.
If you go by her party, she has passed with flying colours. But if you adopt the opposition yardstick, she won’t even get pass marks. Recently, her own party leader and former union minister Harmohan Dhawan said BJP has betrayed residents by not fulfilling a single promise they made in the manifesto before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
Of unkept promises
The list of promises made but not kept is long indeed. Kher had promised to implement citizens charter, provide 24-hour water and electricity supply, end the traffic jams, streamline parking, and set up a Chandigarh service selection board, but little has been done in this direction. She has also failed to regularise need-based changes in Chandigarh Housing Board units or come up with a housing scheme for UT employees. Promises such as construction of a film city, setting up of a single window system, and abolition of contractual labour are also gathering dust. As if all this wasn’t enough, the municipal corporation has never been in such dire straits financially.
Not your usual sugar-coated politician, Kher has often courted trouble for letting her tongue run away with her.
It’s not as if the city’s first woman MP has not moved a finger but most of the promises she has kept have been largely populist. To Kher goes the credit for increasing the upper age limit for entry into government service in UT from 18-25 to 18-37 years, doubling old age and disabled pension, enhancing wages to Home Guards, and construction of five new sports complexes. Kher also pats herself for the conversion of leasehold residential properties into freehold, though the high rates of conversion have soured this achievement.
Another grouse against Kher is that even though she adopted three villages of Sarangpur, Raipur Kalan and Makhan Majra under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana, she focused only on Sarangpur. The village, which was already well developed, has got additional facilities such as garbage centre, bus queue shelters, dispensary, and community centre. But the other two villages continue to suffer contaminated water, potholed roads, and blocked sewerage.
Dogged by controversy
Not your usual sugar-coated politician, Kher has often courted trouble for letting her tongue run away with her. She was trolled on social media when she stated that the 21-year-old rape victim should not have boarded the auto on seeing that three men were already inside it. Such was the public outrage that she had to issue a clarification. On October 3, 2016, the MP gave a severe tongue-lashing to senior officials of the northern railways, when they made her wait for 20 minutes in the waiting room of the Chandigarh railway station.
She is also known for losing her cool at public events, especially when she is pressed to meet people. Her detractors claim she doesn’t take kindly to people who don’t kowtow to her, pointing to her outburst at the PEC University of Technology two years ago when she found that her name was missing from the plaques. She publicly pulled up varsity director Manoj K Arora and asked him to ‘take note’.
A divided party
The factionalism in the BJP, which deepened when she was chosen to represent the city, has only made her task more difficult. But insiders say she has been able to repair the schisms by getting former MPs Satya Pal Jain and Harmohan Dhawan to rally behind her. This was evident during the mayoral polls last year when this group led by Kher was pitted against local BJP leaders under party president Sanjay Tandon. Though Tandon scored a major win when candidates handpicked by him swept the MC polls, Kher upstaged him during the mayoral elections by putting her nominee Davesh Moudgil on the mayor’s seat.
First Published: May 26, 2018 10:15 IST