Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government completes two years on October 26. It was a landmark political development in the history of Haryana when Khattar took oath as the BJP’s first chief minister at Mela Ground in Panchkula on October 26, 2014. It was an occasion which had been graced by the country’s who’s who. People of the state were also on cloud nine to have a new dispensation taking charge of affairs, though they did not have many complaints against Khattar’s predecessor Bhupinder Singh Hooda, but the Congress had lost the poll due to ‘unnecessary’ hype over development and lack of comprehensive unity among party leaders, which had left the workers as a divided and confused lot. Since the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) failed to translate the opportunity into victory, the BJP ended up sweeping the poll as the people had made up their mind to opt for an entirely different dispensation with hope that they would have a better feel of governance in the state. It will be unfair to say that Khattar has fared badly so far, but at the same time there instances galore to infer differently.
At micro level, there is significant change in governance, but there is total absence of efforts towards creating comprehensive, long term infrastructural assets in the state. Efforts are on to ensure transparency in recruitments made by different agencies including the Haryana Public Service Commission (HPSC) and the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC). However, one will believe transparency claims with regard to HPSC and HSSC recruitments only when there is no adverse outcome if there is a judicial intervention at any point of time. As of now, the BJP regime appears to be a winner on this count. A successful tenure of two years means apart from handling day-to-day functioning of the governance, the government is also moving towards the accomplishment of grand objectives. Since a number of promises which appear in political manifestoes are either driven by rhetoric or electoral exuberance to win people’s support, one is waiting and watching with all curiosity how these promises are implemented in reality. For example, the idea of having a university in each and every district of Haryana is not feasible. Similarly, every village cannot be developed as a smart village, but all villages can certainly have minimum basic amenities.
All district hospitals cannot be developed as super speciality hospitals, but a few of these can certainly be developed so that the people do not have to rush to the state capital all the time, seeking super speciality treatment. Similarly, you can have some good universities to meet the state’s academic needs and Haryana has many a good university including a Central university now. How to run state universities in a manner that some of these become Centres of Excellence in the real sense of the term is the real challenge before any government to face effectively. Many state universities are not able to fill up sanctioned teaching posts for want of funds and their vice chancellors do not know or are not doing anything concrete to revise fee structure so that those who can must pay more and those who can’t get freeship. To make such things happen, the government must work out a roadmap which is followed by their successors. Since such initiatives are so grandiose and people friendly that no government would like to either derail or discontinue them. At best, a government would like to repackage some of these schemes, which is quite natural in a democratic set-up.
Anyone would like to know what is the primary focus of the current regime in the state-to fine-tune health and education facility at the primary-secondary or tertiary level or holistic development of all facilities, needed for the people. In a democratic set-up, the concept of holistic development is about long-term planning as is visualised in the Five-Year plan, which can be realised only when the government is able to meet people’s basic needs at the grassroots level in an effective manner. It also seems that the BJP government in the state is getting enough benefits of not having a strong opposition which can take on the government head-on. Traditionally, in Haryana agricultural issues are raised with all vigour. The reason is not too far to be sought. Farmers are politically very important in Haryana as in Punjab and to some extent even in Uttar Pradesh. In every election, every potential political force promises moon to the electorate and other facilities for their families, constituting broad rural masses in the state, but nothing meritorious takes place as no government dares take risk of adopting long-term planning. As of now, there are no indications to suggest that the current regime is going to be an exception, but three years are still left.