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 This is in response to the article: “People are free & fast with their accusations” by Hardeep S Puri published in Hindustan Times dated 13 .09.2018.

Let me make the readers acquainted who is Mr. Hardeep S Puri, an IFS of 1974 batch and currently Union Minister of State with independent charge in the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs in the BJP government.  Quoting paragraph  from the author`s article:

“Rahul Gandhi is not alone in spreading falsehoods. He has been joined by individuals who pretend to be activists but are at their core political actors. Their aim is to undermine the state and derail any effort made towards development.

Since 2014, the BJP leaders including BJP appointed bureaucrats such as Hardeep S Puri have been accusing the legacy which they have inherited from the Congress Party. To name few ferocious, malicious, story-tellers are  Piyush Goyal, Nitin Gardgari, Jatindra Singh and BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra leaves no stone unturned to blame the Congress Party and Gandhi family for all the tribulations of the Indian economy. Smriti Irani, Textile Minister in the NDA government, a defeated and humiliated woman is assigned the duty of slinging a mud on the Gandhi family; no matter it is a national debate on Television channel or a public meeting. On the National Herald case, Smriti Irani is found advising Rahul Gandhi not to evade taxes. After ignominious election 2014 defeat in Amethi, her disastrous short stint at Human Resource Development(HRD) Ministry, she has lost her mental balance. She was punished by the Prime Minister House and pushed to the Textile Ministry. To regain her political standing inside the BJP, she wants to show some work to win brownie points. Her first task is to malign the Gandhi family.

The irony is that Rahul Gandhi is the only one but there are hundreds of thousands including disgruntled, anti-humanity leaders from RSS, Bajrang Dal, Ram Sena, VHP and many more who find faults in Rahul Gandhi and his party. Now when Rahul Gandhi is visiting Hindu shrines and seeking the blessings of the Hindu priests;  this act on behalf of Rahul Gandhi disturbs them as if all the BJP leaders have the monopoly over the Hindu shrines and priests.

Whenever the BJP leaders are politically attacked by the opposition party for their misgovernance, communal politics, Hinduvta, Ram Mandir, Ganga cleaning, Dalit`s daylight flogging, and killing, they speedily pick two issues, one is emergency period and other is 1984 Sikh riots occurred in Delhi. Despite this malicious propaganda, the  Congress party won Punjab election and formed the government.

The people of India are fed with these two issues. Now they want the government should deliver and fulfill the promises made in the election manifesto. Puri knowingly ignored the promises such as 15 lakhs to everyone`s account, black money to be brought back to India, made by Modi during 2014 election campaign. My personal observation suggests that not a single BJP leader is found using his or her own brain. Similarly is the case with the BJP appointed bureaucrats? The irony is that all the BJP leaders starts and ends their speech at the public platform with the name of “Modi”. For all of them, Modi is “Chimera”.

Since Hardeep S Puri took charge of the Housing and Urban Affairs no constructive work has been done in the city of Delhi. The local BJP leaders have been fighting with the Kejriwal government. Almost four years have been wasted.  To substantiate the allegations, let me allow to discuss briefly few things in the case of Delhi(India`s capital) in which Hardeep S Puri himself resides. Today, Delhi cannot be termed as a city but a dirty, filthy, polluted chaos. Open sewer cum drains on both sides of the narrow roads of Delhi has been choking the life of the people. Waterlogging during the rainy season further adds woes to the commuters. Illegal encroachment of the roads in Delhi by the car sellers, car mechanics, hawkers, e-rickshaws is suffocating the capital. Will Hardeep S Puri show the gusts to remove illegal encroachment outside the Sikh temples Hindu temples, Muslim Mosques? I am amazed to listen to one of the bureaucrats while answering a question from the audience at Hyatt Regency Hotel, New Delhi that “we are a democratic country. We have to work within some constraints. We are not like the Politburo of the Chinese government”

The poor people living in slum-like Kusumpur Pahari(in the vicinity of posh colony Vasant Vihar, South Delhi) has no regular safe drinking water supply for decades. Poor children and women stand in the unending queue for long hours to store water for the day. For a moment we can blame the Congress party but what now after 2014. Has Hardeep S Puri visited Kusumpur Pahari ever? Has he asked the officials why the water supply is not regular?

Several schemes are launched by the BJP government for the Economically Weaker Sections(EWS) but not a single welfare scheme has achieved its intended goals till date. This is where Hardeep S Puri and his colleagues failed in discharging their constitutional duties. Alas! the poor people will get the same reply that this is not under my jurisdiction.

Rather, most of the schemes or flagship programme is struggling owing to the crunch of funds or not religiously monitored and implemented. Swatch Bharat is choked; a mound of mucky rubbish lying here and there. There is not a single work which Hardeep S Puri can boast of in terms of security for women, cleanliness, and sanitation.

The BJP has no right to talk about the welfare of the Dalits. Since 2014, the condition of Dalit Bastis in the city of Delhi deteriorated further. Government officials are found intentionally ignoring Dalit Bastis on the pretext of shortage of funds. The government data suggest that more than 8,00,000 still work as sewage cleaners.

What has the BJP done for the sanitary workers? Every day there is a death while cleaning sewers and septic tanks.  According to Wilson, Founder and National Convenor of Safai Karamchari Andolan, 39 people had died across India while cleaning the sewers. All the sanitary workers belong to the marginalized groups. Has Hardeep S Puri raised such issue in the parliament? Has Hardeep S Puri ever thought of providing technically improved tools to the sanitary workers since they enter the muck with rudimentary tools such as metal scrapers and sticks? Caste-based practices “haunt India’s efforts to cope effectively with the waste of a vast, urbanizing population,” academics Assa Doron and Robin Jeffrey wrote in a new book released this year.

Sitting on the lap of the air-conditioner and speaking at the five-star hotels will not solve the problems of the country. I recall the words of Chris Fussell, ” In any bureaucracy, there is a natural tendency to let the system become an excuse for inaction”.

  Rahul Kumar is a  Senior Journalist and Media Columnist. He can be contacted at rkbsooru@gmail.com