Reshuffling the incompetent is no solution

  • A fish rots from the head down


With the PTI’s style of governance, complaints against ministers are bound to rise from the party MNAs. The problem starts from the Prime Minister who rarely attends the National Assembly sittings, thus setting a bad precedent followed by many ministers. The issue has been raised umpteen times in the House with the Speaker himself complaining about the ministers’ absence. There is thus a need on the part of the PM to regularly attend the House. This alone can ensure that the Cabinet members attend the sittings of the House, meet the Treasury members and respond to their concerns. There being no forums within the PTI for ventilating grievances, a party MNA was forced to complain in the House and was subsequently unjustly reprimanded by the PM.

The PM rules the country by a wafer-thin majority with the help of allies and cannot afford to lose any of them. As far as the PTI ministers are concerned he can only sack those who have no constituency of their own and have won only on the strength of the PTI ticket. In April when the first reshuffle in the federal ministry took place, a party minister with his own constituency refused to quit the cabinet and had to be given another portfolio. Similarly, the PM cannot axe at will ministers and advisors who enjoy the backing of important patrons outside the party.

Punjab has been virtually punished by being handed over to a CM with no administrative experience and a limited vision. He has blamed his failures on the bureaucracy. He has resorted to mass transfers of bureaucrats who were also shaken by NAB’s treatment of their colleagues. The bureaucracy is thus fearful of taking any decision. The last one year in Punjab has consequently been marked by sheer bad governance leading to a steady deterioration in every sphere. Instead of police reforms, there is an increase in fake police encounters. In September alone there were six deaths in police custody. The health situation has deteriorated with the rise in polio cases. By the end of September, the total number of dengue patients in Punjab had reached 3,211. With the present arrangement, there is little hope of things improving in Punjab.