Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar might have secured an own goal by asserting that constitutional authorities can become more corrupt than politicians when vested with absolute power. The barb was seen aimed at the Election Commission days after he recommended an audit of Rs 16.86 crore bills submitted by the poll panel.
What triggered the barb was possibly the state EC taking cognizance of Parrikar’s Kejriwal-like statement during the state election in February asking voters to accept money from BJP’s political rivals but vote only for the nationalist party. Parrikar reportedly made the comment at an election meeting. When the EC took him to task for this ‘irresponsible’ statement, he claimed his speech had been translated wrongly. However, the EC rejected Parrikar’s claim that his election speech in Konkani was translated incorrectly.
Since then, Parrikar, as is human wont, must be wanting to get even with the EC. So he might have felt that the EC’s election expense bill of Rs 16.86 crores provided him with a golden opportunity to settle his personal score with the EC. In the process of doing so, he might have forgotten that he, too, holds a constitutional post. And its dignity made it imperative for him to settle his score in a decent way – different from the ways of the Kejriwals of the world. If he felt that the bill was really inflated, he could have simply reverted it to the EC, requesting for an intra-departmental verification and audit.
Instead, Parrikar chose to hit back from a public forum. Is this the way one constitutional authority may sort out its differences with another constitutional authority.
It may be noted that Parrikar had on Tuesday recommended an audit of the “seemingly exorbitant” reimbursement claim of Rs 16.86 crore raised by the EC for travel of electoral officers against the expenditure incurred by them during the Goa Assembly elections in February.
According to the CM, the officials had hired vehicles in addition to the several already roped in from various government departments for the election duty. “For two-and-a-half months (of the election process) the Election Commission has given a bill of Rs 16.86 crore. They were going around in the vehicles,” he said while addressing an event organized by state-run Economic Development Corporation.
“(I am) Very sorry to say, I don’t like to criticize constitutional authorities, but when constitutional authorities attain absolute power, they can become more corrupt than politicians,” Parrikar said.
And, then, he went on reeling out how politicians are held accountable for everything from garbage on the road to anything going wrong.
Well, Dear Mr. Parrikar, you can’t grumble like an ordinary folk for the job you have picked up yourself.
(M K Shukla & Rakesh Ranjan)