Justifying their failure to rise to the occasion, ministers in Jammu and Kashmir resorted to mocking people and the problems they face due to unprecedented snowfall. One minister said that rescue and relief operations were prevented by the code of conduct in force because of forthcoming parliamentary elections. The election commission cannot be blind to problems people face.
If the minister in question, whose stints in government would total up to over two decades, is still clueless on how the election code of conduct comes into play, Kashmiris have clearly wasted a lot of money in keeping him in office. He is a liability, and ought to be shown the door at the earliest available opportunity. Since the chief minister is unlikely even to censure the NC’s Man Friday for his lumpen excuse, the task has fallen to the masses he has sought to insult.
The entire Valley and parts of the Jammu region have been facing a very difficult situation for the past four days. The administration has failed to reach out to the sufferers, the claims of the government spokesman notwithstanding. Snow-clearing and ensuring essential supplies are duties every government has to perform, regardless of approaching elections. The Election Commission of India, or any other authority, cannot expect people to uphold democracy on an empty stomach. The code of conduct comes into force a month or so before polls to prevent politicians from exploiting people in the name of developmental works and new government jobs. The idea is to have free and fair elections. One fails to understand how the code of conduct can be an impediment in the day-to-day functioning of a government.
Another minister has gone to the extent of declaring that Kashmir had become more advanced than America. According to him, the government restored electricity across the state in just two days when it takes a week or so in America. Obviously, this specimen of minister-hood is a highly well-informed individual, and would be the pride of any government in the world. Perhaps he should mail his resume to the beleaguered American president, with the caveat that he needs a sabbatical in an institution if Obama-care foots the bill.
Around twenty people have got killed, and property and livestock worth crores lost. The toll is likely to go up in the coming days. Traders have urged the government to declare the snowfall a disaster and take appropriate measures. The ministers and their babus ought to show some remorse and speed up relief and rehabilitation measures. Half of Srinagar, a city the Chief Minister says is the face of the state, is still inundated. The ministers can begin by taking a swim.