|CURRENT ISSUE JUNE 30, 2003|
|Jobs for the Boys in Hush-Hush Haryana|
In Om Prakash Chautala's Haryana, it is alleged that recruitments to government posts happen through the back door. Already under fire for the alleged bungling in the recruitment for the Haryana Civil Service and of police constables, the Indian National Lok Dal supremo and state chief minister is now embroiled in allegations of favouritism in the recruitment of 25 sub-inspectors in Haryana Police. The antecedents of the new recruits reveal that at least nine of them are wards or relatives of politicians and top officials. One of them, Shailendra Ahlawat, is the son of an SP who had registered a criminal case against Chautala's bete noire, Haryana Congress chief and former chief minister Bhajan Lal. Another appointee Ajay Disodia is the son of a senior IAS officer who was accused of awarding lucrative tenders for contract labour at Chautala's bidding. "It is not a fair selection but a brazen assault on the rights of the Haryana youth," says Karan Singh Dalal, Chautala's trenchant critic and lone MLA of the Republic Party of India.
The appointments were made in a hush-hush manner despite a stay on the recruitment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Over one lakh candidates had applied for the 150 posts. Curiously, the selected candidates were hurriedly made to join service when the court closed down for the summer break. According to Dalal, the state Home Secretary Promilla Issar proceeded on leave to avoid putting her signature on the file pertaining to the dubious selections.
Chautala has denied any wrongdoing. "There is no scope for partiality as jobs are given on the basis of merit," he says. Of late, Chautala has been harping on his promise to create "raksha purush" (security guards) under a village protection scheme. But first someone needs to keep watch on the government's recruitments.
|THE GOLDEN PUMPKIN|
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, not a frequent flier in a political class that is chock-full of them, is caught between the command of the Centre and the lure of the deep blue sea. All due to his decision to indulge the Rajasthani Association of North America (RANA) and promise to turn up during its 50th year. The celebrations are marked by an international meet, expected to be attended by 1,200 Rajasthani luminaries like Laxmi Mittal and the prime minister's knee-surgeon Chittaranjan Ranawat.
Refused official permission by the Ministry of External Affairs but permitted to travel in his private capacity, Gehlot first assembled a sparse team of 12 for the big RANA do. Besides his personal staff, he is to be accompanied by three ministers, including one who has never been abroad, four senior officials and four tourism officials, old hands at setting up exhibition stalls overseas. The cost of hosting the itinerant Rajasthanis is Rs 20 lakh, which RANA promises to take care of if he comes in his private capacity. Gehlot is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. The Rajasthan High Court has issued suo moto notice in public interest asking the state to justify this delegation. Others egg Gehlot on citing his fundamental right to fly, specially as Mayawati and Om Prakash Chautala roam wild and free. Then there's the lure of RANA's proposal to chip in with Rs 1 crore as drought relief. The only place Gehlot seems to be going now is in circles.
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