The newly appointed Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath, is creating controversies on a daily basis in the state with his decisions. First, he made controversial statements against people of UP and Bihar, then he transferred 42 IAS officers, and now as promised his government is preparing to ban government employees from attending RSS shakhas.
In the run-up to the elections Kamal Nath, newly elected CM of Madhya Pradesh had warned the government employees of the state to be ready to face the ‘consequences’ and his ‘wrath’ when Congress party forms the government in the state. It seems he was more than serious about this vendetta politics as is evident from the sweeping directive. Now, after assuming the power, CM Kamal Nath rather than spending time towards pursuing development goals is busy destroying the ecosystem which took the state on the highway of development after the 10 years of misrule of Congress led Digvijay Singh government in the state. The state bureaucracy is responsible for the policy implementation and running administration of the state and targeting such important machinery for political reasons shows the narrow thinking of the concerned person. Transfers are part and parcel of a civil servant’s career. However, transferring them just because they held an important position in the previous ruling dispensation is wrong at all the levels.
The members of the bureaucracy are not involved in party politics. No matter which political party comes to power they remain politically neutral and play their departmental roles impartially and faithfully. However, some political parties and some political leaders demand complete loyalty of bureaucratic offers to their party, and ideology. The Congress party survives only by creating a favourable & ferociously loyal ecosystem which comprise of journalists, civil servants, writers, authors, filmmakers etc. Everyone in the Lutyens’ media appreciated Kamal Nath for his decision, however, if the BJP would have done the exact same thing it would make Breaking News with presstitutes calling it ‘Institutions under attack’. It shows the power of Congress ecosystem when it comes to creating narratives.
The recent transfers of IAS officers appointed by the previous government is basically a search for “favourable” officers that are loyal to the Congress party and its leaders. Such en masse dismissal demoralizes bureaucracy and makes the system corrupt and inefficient. And this loyalty to political party goes against four salient aspects of civil services highlighted by Sardar Patel: ‘empathy’, ‘efficiency’, ‘impartiality’ and ‘incorruptibility’. He had exhorted, “Above all, I would advise you to maintain to the utmost impartiality and incorruptibility of administration.” He had also cautioned, “A civil servant cannot afford to, and must not, take part in politics. Nor must he involve himself in communal wrangles. To depart from the path of rectitude in either of these respects is to debase public service and to lower its dignity.”
The Congress party did the same bureaucratic slaughtering when it assumed power after the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. Immediately after coming to power, the Congress party unnecessary removed the Cabinet Secretary and Home Secretary only because they had been appointed by a previous NDA government.
However, when the Modi government arrived to power in 2014, it avoided playing dirty politics of transfers. As Shakti Sinha has pointed out in his article, all the Joint Secretaries and Directors who were a part of the PMO on May 26, 2014, completed their tenures. Some officials even got an extension. When Narendra Modi became the CM of Gujarat in 2001, he did not change any incumbent officer.