Tag Archives: chief minister

We-Care-A-Damn spelt with an F

 

SORRY, BUT WCAD

That, perhaps, is the government’s answer in the handling of the Mumbai Police Commissioner’s appointment. It may take a hard-nosed investigating team (perhaps the one on the Sheena Bora case?) to get them to say more   

Whatever the stated intention of the Maharashtra government, in ‘routinely’ reassigning roles of two competent senior police officers, it speaks only of two things. Inept communication and non-verbal posturing indicating We-Care-A-Damn (henceforth abbreviated to WCAD).

And in its refusal to acknowledge and accept its blundering, it has caused immense damage.  Tick messing reputations. Double tick destroying careers.

With a young and able Chief Minister in Maharashtra, one hopes for better governance and astute decision-making. However, recent decisions reflect quite the contrary.

What is worrying is the apparent stubborn WCAD attitude. The latest decision is a case in point. In the abrupt transfer of the Police Commissioner, the government has raised a plethora of troubling questions. These are but just ten of them which, comprehensively and convincingly, the government needs to answer.

  1. When Maria was to routinely be transferred end September, what was the hurry with only 20 days to spare?

The Home Secretary said:  We didn’t want to transfer him in the middle of the festival season and create a vacuum in the CP office a-la the previous occasion.

This begs the supplementary question: Could the government not have held Maria back till the festival season was over, given that the Government insists it had no issues with his competency. Isn’t the existing officer better placed to handle Mumbai’s festival season than someone who would be just a week old in the hot seat?

Answer: WCAD

  1. If the post of the CP (currently being held by an Additional DG ranking officer, which Maria was till recently) was being upgraded to that of a DG ranking officer, then pray why did they not continue with Maria himself? Haven’t other officers stayed in the same job beyond their tenure earlier?

Answer: WCAD

  1. If this was such a ‘routine transfer’, why was it done in a hush-hush manner and Maria informed of it the same morning or possibly the previous night? Or are HR protocols and niceties not part of thick- skinned politics?

Answer: WCAD.

  1. Javed, a highly competent officer in his own capacity and with much experience in Mumbai too, retires a few months from now. When a government claims to be talking long term, why did they bring in someone with a short term in mind? Doesn’t Mumbai deserve someone with a longer tenure or do we have a paucity of competency?

Answer: WCAD

  1. By upgrading the position of CP to that of a DG, haven’t you distanced the goal post for so many IPS officers of the rank of Spl IGs and fresh Addl DGs? For those who dreamt of becoming CP in five years, it will now take ten years. Or will the rules keep changing to please whims?

Answer: WCAD

  1. By booting Maria out and then bringing him back to head a particular case (you once questioned why the CP is showing interest in one particular case and now you endorse his ‘interest’ by assigning it back to him), what signal are you sending to the new CP? We trust you, Mr. Commissioner but…?

Answer: WCAD

  1. Whom does Maria report to for the Sheena case? The government? The CP? Anew extra constitutional authority being created for this one case? Whom does the investigating team report to? To Javed or to Maria?

Answer:  WCAD

  1. What are the grounds on which a new CP gets chosen among equals (equal ranking officials to be more precise? Don’t we have a right to know? Don’t THEY have a right to know?

Answer: WCAD

  1. Earlier, citizens knew how these decisions were taken. But can you possibly explain the rewritten procedure followed this time?

Answer: WCAD

  1. And what about the much celebrated hand-over of the baton from one Police Commissioner to another? Did that happen at all?

Answer: WCAD

The Chief Minister may be well-meaning but the methods of communication, both verbal and non, have distorted the message. Assuming of course he did intend well.

ENDS

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THE TOUCH AND FEEL OF THE CHIEF MINISTER

 

(A fictional account of the Chief Minister’s travel to Mumbai. I mean, to the city beyond the airport.)

One year back, I had urged the Chief Minister of Maharashtra (https://shishirjoshi.wordpress.com/2011/09/03/open-letter-to-the-chief-minister/)

to some day  try travelling towards the Mumbai which exists beyond the domestic/international  airport and experience  life on the moon, with all craters intact. (Clichéd and sic, but true).

Last week, Mr. Chavan finally agreed. Here is his touch-and-feel account.

Mr. Chavan was to attend a bhoomi poojan ceremony of a mall promoted by a fellow politician who had joined hands with two others; a suspended cop and a reputed builder. This was to be held at Andheri east, closer towards the Sahar international airport. The scheduled time of the event was seven pm.

One option was to take a chopper, but since that would  have meant taking to the skies after sunset (not permitted by  DGCA laws) , that idea never took wings. The other option was to hit the road. With four pilot cars and an equal number of escort vehicles behind him, the joy ride would have taken not more than 25 minutes to reach Andheri. (Peak traffic time rules do not apply to lal batti gaadis) . It otherwise takes nothing less than 2 hours on a normal day from Church gate to Andheri by road. Mr. Chavan dropped this idea too as, in the wake of growing unrest against public servants, he wanted to prove a larger point.

How long will it take me to reach Andheri?, he asked his man Friday, 45minutes, pat came the reply from an eager beaver, “just 45 minutes sahib, our public transport  shystam is very paarfect. “By train, he hastily added.  It was 4.30 in the afternoon and there was still a full 30 minutes for Mantralaya, the state administrative headquarters to officially stop work for the day. “Sahib you leave at 4.40 pm saheb, so you will get a direct ladies special bus from Mantralaya to Churchgate station. We all leave office early anyways to catch that bus. So nothing wrong in you doing it”, he said.

 The conscientious leader did not want to be seen sneaking out of Mantralaya before time, least of all, into a ladies special. So he covered himself under a burqa, and leapt into the ladies special bus, reaching Churchgate in a jiffy.

He was shocked to see so many trains. Never known to take instant firm decisions, he dithered, once again. He lunged to a public assistance booth. It was unattended. He was running late so he scampered to the Railway police chowki. Two uniformed cops were busy entertaining someone at the other end of the line. After a three-minute wait, one of them asked the burqa clad leader if “she”had lost a child or a mobile.  If not, don’t waste my time, was the look he gave her.

Ändheri key liye train kahan sey?”  enquired the burqa PRC (Prithvi Raj Chavan ). 
“Mere chehre pe 197 likha hai kya?” (Does my face have a telephone enquiry tattooed on it??) bellowed the cop and  told PRC to take any train, since  “they all go via Andheri”.

PRC ran towards a train inching out of the platform, managing to cling into the gate rod and footboard in the nick of time. It was the general (read MALE) compartment of a Virar fast.

Even before Prithvi bhau could catch his breath, there seemed men in all shapes and sizes offering theirs. At every station, the number of hands, fingers, palms, groins, thighs, paan-stained faces and knees played doctor-doctor with Prithvi bhau. Periodically, a wave of people surged in, or were pushed out, a fresh pairs of hands made it a point to explore the unexplored. With renewed vigor.

Prithvi bhau had once seen an award-winning  newspaper  photograph of a man sandwiched  between two BEST buses. Fear painted on his face. Those images came flashing in front of Prithvi bhau’s eyes, as a stock man inched deeper and closer into him, softly humming, Jaata kahan hai deewaaney…sab kuch yahan hai sanam..(where are you trying to escape my love, all that you want is here…)

It was the longest Churchgate to Andheri ride that Prithvi bhau had ever undertaken.

As the train neared Andheri, he sensed a light at the end of the over-bridge. His relief was short-lived. First, Virar loyals refused to allow an Andheri Indian to disembark. When Prithvi bhau finally did, his farewell it was not without the accompaniment of a few pinches, blows, touches-feelies, slaps and choicest of gender abuses marked his harried and hurried farewell.

In great pain, Prithvi bhau managed to take the foot over-bridge, clutching on to what remained of his burqa.

In the surging crowds, Prithvi bhau was surprised how many people, especially men, suffered from what he thought was a “temporary elbow problem.”  “From a distance they seemed fine, as soon as they came closer, their elbows would jut out”, he told a friend later. “Ï wonder why?” he questioned. He also never understood why most women who negotiate these bridges hold their purses and bags in front of them, cross-armed.

About to take the steps down, his eyes popped at the sight of an elevated  runway. Paused long enough to notice very few people walking onto it. Most others choosing to wade through the sea of human miracle. “That is a sky walk”, shouted out a vendor, responding to the quizzical look. Before he could say thank you, he had been knocked by another wave of people coming from the next train.

 It took Prithvi bhau twenty minutes to come out of the railway station. Another fifteen to wait for a bus stop before giving up and choose to stand in line for an auto rickshaw.  He had left Mantralaya at 4.45 pm.It was nearing 7 pm.

After three auto rickshaws had turned him down and a fourth ran over his leg,  bhau finally managed to get a shared rickshaw, sandwiched between two men.

He had no energy to fight back. He just let the guys help themselves. Too tired even to take heed to what Aasaram bapu preached on Monday. (For the uninitiated and unaware, Aasaram bapu in a public discourse blamed the victim of the Delhi gang rape for what happened to her. He said and I quote from television news clips, the Delhi gang rape victim would have saved her life if she had pleaded and made the alleged rapists her brothers”.)

Prithvi bhau was beyond  new relationships.

He somehow managed to reach the venue. Clothes intact but dignity in tatters.

It was 7.45 pm. It had taken three hours for him to reach Andheri East’s Sahar locality.  “Tumcha chehra  itka utarlela kasa? Amhi roz ashech ghari pohochto  saheb”. (Why are you looking so pale sir? This is how we travel and reach home every day”, one of the women at the venue told him.

The event got over in ten minutes. One of the middle-class Mumbaikars was planning to take a train back to Churchgate. “Nako rey baba”, pleaded Prithvi bhau, when they asked if he would like to join them. He chose a taxi drive back.

Prithvi bhau was drained. He somehow managed to send a text message to Madam ji in Delhi, to tell her how he braved Mumbai’s commute and hoping she is now proud of her as he has finally identified with the “Marathi manoos”.

One is not sure if it was Madam ji or chottey sarkar. But, orders were given for every Congresi  leader to follow suit.

One local leader  said she wanted to emulate Chavan saheb. No, not by travelling in the Delhi metro. 

Last heard, she was seen at one of the deserted bus stops in an old Delhi by lane. .. You don’t want to hear what happened next….Do you….?

ends

 

 

OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF MINISTER

 

Dear Mr. Chief Minister

 

I should have written to you almost one year back, when you took over as the driver of the elected machine in Maharashtra. The idea was to give you a brief about the state of affairs. Or, affairs of the State. Since you would be(relatively)  new here.

Mercifully, it is not too late. You remain as clueless and as far from reality as you were then.

I wonder if you were any point interested in handling this State? (Your disinterest seems a bit too obvious). After all, you are Prithvi-raj (one who rules the world) pray then why would a tiny inconsequential state like Maharashtra, however MAHA  it claims to be, should interest you?

Or is it that the hangover of your previous portfolio, MOS in the PMO,  still remains and hence, matters  of  a state, belittle your competence.

Having said that, I must confess, you are ideal for the state of Maharashtra.  Why, that I shall justify later in this note.

Talking of ideal, at least you are ideally better off than your predecessor, who seemed too engrossed in his ‘ideals’ ( Adarsh),which  led to his downfall.  How can we trust a Chief Minister who can disown his mother-in-law and say she is not family, at the drop of a hat, or in this case,  at the sale of a flat.

But that apart, I think it is high time you knew something about your State.

To begin with, a lesson in state capital, Mumbai’s Geography and contours.

Mumbai is not seven kilometers  in radius, from Mantralaya to Varsha. (For the uninitiated, Varsha is the official residence of the Maharashtra Chief Minister).  Mr. CM, you may live in Varsha, but, the real downpour happens in the rest of Mumbai.

 Central Mumbai for instance, once had mills which Mumbai was recognized  for.  Mills have made way for Malls. What remains are chimneys, more as a heritage fascination. Obviously you don’t seem them billowing with smoke as in the past. Strangulated off their last breath by DBuilders , or people who have more filth in their veins than that flows through Mumbai’s archaic drainage system.

The little hope, from public representatives has been dashed. In central Mumbai itself, one such rep  notorious for his stone chawl which even cops fear to scale, while another is popular for his dahi handis rather than ‘upliftment’.

.

But then, people have given up expecting much from the likes of elected representatives. Many of whom have criminal records and share space with you in the cabinet, or under the same roof  in the legislature. You , Mr CM, do not have the courage to enquire why the most inconsequential of leaders manages to travel in the fanciest of cars the moment he gets elected.

.Lower your cr windows and look at their convoys too, Mr CM, You could pick a tip on which car to use for your convoy the next time round.

As I maintained earlier, Mumbai is not only the road from Mantralaya to Varsha. You must some day, drive into rest of Mumbai. Oh yes, there is actually life beyond Dadar too.

Bandra, yes, the same where the sea link begins or ends. Yes the same Sea link which your party leaders and alliance partners squabbled, over the naming, the day it was inaugurated.

What? You haven’t heard of Andheri is it? It is one of the biggest suburbs of Mumbai. Yessss….that’s where Bollywood is. Oh Bollywood you have heard of, is it? How come? Yes, Correct, the same Bollywood where one of your predecessor’s son is gainfully employed. Yes the same chap who went with Ramu Verma into Oberoi hotel shortly after the 26/11 attacks. No wonder.

 

Honestly Mr. CM, Mumbai has grown. Oblivious to your information, some of your colleagues, hand in glove with the builders have managed to make this city’s geographies extend to far and beyond.

‘Ab Dilli Door nahin’, was once used by politicians who eyed a ‘influential’ seat in the Delhi political circle. Your men in Mumbai have redefined it, by promising land to the hapless Mumbaikar in far-flung areas which may appear closer to Delhi than to Mantralaya or mainland.

When (and if ) you do travel to the suburbs of Mumbai, don’t be shocked to see vehicles with just three wheels bobbing up and down.  These are not smaller jet planes going through air pockets.

These are called auto-rickshaws, which are going through crater like pot holes.  (A little word of advice. Instead of filling up pot holes, your civic admin can simply join all pot holes by breaking the edges. The road will get leveled. It is far cheaper and faster. True there is lesser money to make, in such a scenario. )

I invite you to a ‘sponsored’  auto-ride. (Of course, the first test will be if you manage to convince  an auto-wallah  to stop for a passenger.  Nope, the cops are very unlikely to pay heed.

 

Talking of locals and cops.

 I think you need to look at the police machinery too. Of the 33,000 police force, as of last count, only a handful are busy in investigating crimes. (Yes some have committed them and some have been shielding those who have committed them). Rest are busy guarding VVIPs, political morchas, clear traffic when your party’s President or the country’s President also from your party visits Mumbai, the latter, so very often.

 

There are also some in uniform, too busy hiding behind trees and bushes to jump onto the road and scare the shit out of an unsuspecting driver and pocket some money from him for traffic violation.

Net net, you don’t see them doing what they ought to be doing.

The locals are next.(here I mean the local trains and not the Bihari babus  who Raj bhau seems to be fixated upon) The scores of massage parlors which were fronts for sex rackets have now extended themselves  to the local trains too. Ummmm…..This is a feel you have to feel.

Talking of Local trains, I sincerely urge you to board a Virar fast local, and try getting out at Andheri.  Don’t forget to inform the Congress Hi-kamaan (HQ) to start looking for a replacement in the meanwhile.  The term Molestation gets redefined in such locations, whichever gender you may belong to.

Well, Mumbai as I repeat, is much more fascinating than your eight minute drive.

 In some suburbs, after you get off the train(or get thrown off ), stop by a paani-puri wallah and gently bend down to look under the stall. Hello Mr. ,  I didn’t ask you to look at the paani-puri wallah’s  fingers pacifying his itchy lower half. What I want you to gaze, is  at the ground below. These are called foot paths, meant for people to walk. (Some of these relics  are visible in paintings of Old Mumbai and  portions of Ballard Estate).

Your over-zealous money-maker partners-in-crime  have done a magic trick. Like you. They have made the foot paths disappear. Filled them up with hawkers and, converted them into elevated footpaths, which most senior citizens find it tough to climb. But, who cares.

It is all a blame game.Your guys blaming the cops, cops blaming the system and  everyone making hay, waiting for Madam’ s son to shine. Just a little note to tell you that in all this, your Executive, who are meant to execute what you guys legislate,  are busy playing God to anyone with grease.  This is one lot, who do not need palmists for sure.

Net net, Mr. CM, you need to wake up. You need to smell the coffee. When you start smelling, you will realize that Mumbai smells like crap. Different suburbs, different smells.

 

As I said at the beginning of my piece, this city deserves you. You deserve this city too. For someone who is now known across political circles in Maharashtra as too good and too nice a guy, let me tell you,  translated, in hindi, it is not a very charitable way to describe a person.

But, as I mentioned earlier, Maharashtra  and Mumbai deserves someone like you. We, of recent past, now belong to the state of  anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare. With great pride and excitement we attended his rally. Some of us also packed our cars with booze so that we could party the night away after the day was spent waving at TV cameras in our designer ‘I am Anna’ caps.

 Many piled onto bikes and scooters, a-la three idiots,ignoring traffic laws, whistling and passing remarks at women on the way.(How dare any one stop us, we are Anna’s brigade and fighting corruption you see).  Some were also stopped by cops but a hundred rupee note ensured , that our rally-party wasn’t dampened.

Some also told their respective office that they want leave to attend Anna’s victory rally, but headed off to Lonavala. Booze and butter chicken zindabaad.

Dear Chief Minister, we have pot holes and no footpaths. We have traffic and no roads. We have rainfall but no water and we are such a huge and large city, but, your men have made it unaffordable for the average man to buy a place here.

We have to make a living, but we have no life.

We are proud to be Mumbaikar’s,  Mr. Chief Minister.  But, we don’t really care about Mumbai.

Somehow, we are like you. Same-same, but different.  You claim to be there, but, do you also really care?

 

ends