Karnataka chief minister Mr B S Yeddyurappa is reported to asked a media person, in the wake of the tranfer of Mysore’s municipal/MUDA commissioner Mr P Manivannan, “Is it a sin to have an upright officer in my home district ?” No sir, but couldn’t this be done without shifting Mr M, upsetting his plans for Mysore? Isn’t there any other upright officer you could find for Shimoga, Mr C M ? Surely, there must be many Manivannans in the our civil administration, if the C M were to apply his mind to finding a suitable officer. But then our chief minister seems in a hurry to make Shimoga ‘shine’. Never mind, if Mysore be damned, in the process.
Popular protest, even a Mysore bandh call, against Mr Manivannan’s transfer is the best certificate an official can get for the efficacy of his administration. I don’t recall the change of a minister in charge of a district having evoked a public upsurge, even though he may be elected by me and you. Oddly enough, Mr M’s transfer has been ordered a day after Mr Y took oath of office. He hails from Shimoga. Getting an upright guy with proven track record to run your town can be reason enough for the transfer, if Mr Y were chieftain of a fifdom. Snag is he runs a government that ought to be responsive to popular and legitimate demands of the people of Karnataka.
There is, evidently, a disconnect here between people and the chief minister. I get a feeling he listens more to his village astrologer than to the will of the people. Another popular misconception some of us happen to be under is that Mr Y is chief minister of the entire Karnataka, not just of Shimoga. A person who thinks/acts smaller than the office he occupies, can only spell misery for those he/she governs.
The protest against Mr Manivannan’s transfer appears spontaneous; the protesters have no personal axe to grind by his retention. If anything, Mr M can prove inconvenient for some people, because of his no-nonsense approach to civic administration. He doesn’t play favourites. Mr M has been in Mysore for less than three months; which isn’t long enough for anyone to wish him ill. Instead, within this short period, he has made such an impression on people that they believe Mr Y’s action betrays supreme indifference to public sentiments. Mysore be damned, for all he cares.
If the political executive of the day works to his own agenda, people’s only hope is in a fair and dispassionate civil administration. The chief secretary or whoever signed Mr M’s tranfer order appears to have no say in the matter. Maybe, transfers and promotion are the prerogative of the state administration. Problem arises when political bosses use them as tool to settle political scores; or further their personal agenda. This is where we could do with a bunch of no-nonsense officials who have spine enough to tell their political boss where they got off. As of now, we seem to have glorified rubberstamps at the helm of civil administration.
I don’t know about Mr M’s personal feelings about his tranfer. Maybe, it doesn’t affect his life one way or another. Anyway, he can’t be expected to voice his grievance, if any, in public. He holds a tranferable job. Viewed in this light postings/transfers of officials shouldn’t normally be an issue for public protest. And no self-respecting administration could be expected to give in to such pressure.
But then, the fact that the likes of my friend ERR ( not given to flag-waving activism) are agitated and have raised their voice against Mr M’s transfer are doing so because they can’t see Mysore being damned, by a part-term CM who has yet to prove his majority on the floor of the assembly. A dramatic turn of events on the day of reckoning may hold an answer to the prayers of public-spirited Mysoreans.
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