One year in office, Gehlot plays it test match style
For a conservative Congress leader Ashok Gehlot, governance is like a five-day test match. And it is quite visible as he completes day one (read one year) in the middle without much score on the board.
Like any other regular opener, his second innings started with lot of caution and uncertainties. He ducked a few deliveries while survived a few close calls to carry his bat through an inning. His snail paced inning was dominated by singles except one shot over the fence when he cracked down on liquor sale by reducing the number of liquor shops by one-third and squeezing the shop timings.
He preferred to stay on back foot on most of the deliveries he faced. And whenever he tried to cut loose on more than one occasions, he smashed straight into the hands of High Court. Whether it was Gurjar quota issue or reservation for youth in Panchayatiraj and local bodies elections, his hard hits were clogged within the 20-metre line by the High Court.
The High Court didn’t even let go his front foot drive against Raje government when it questioned the constitutional validity of the Justice N N Mathur commission set up for probe into alleged Rs 23000-crore corruption charges against Raje government.
His weakness against short pitched deliveries and yorkers was exposed when he failed to curb the spread of disease like Swine Flu and control fire tragedy like that of Indian Oil Corporation which had left the state with a business and opportunity loss of more than Rs 1000 crore.
But he had respite in a weak and tattered opposition. Whether it was his outbursts against the mall culture or the deteriorating civic amenities, the opposition BJP failed to grill him. In fact, BJP struggled to find any close catcher to fit in positions like ‘silly point’ and ‘forward short leg’ to launch a tirade against the unimpressive start of Congress government.
Even in assembly where the opposition should have debated state government’s decision, they preferred to walk out. In fact, they were seen more busy in putting their own house in order after showing the door to former chief minister and leader of opposition Vasundhara Raje and BJP chief Om Mathur.
Mr. Gehlot had a long lunch break and a short tea break in Lok Sabha and local bodies elections. Though he had a healthy luncheon snapping 20 out of 25 Lok Sabha seats and a nutritious tea sipping Mayoral posts of all the corporations in the state, he blames election code of conduct for his low score in developmental sheet.
“No one minds ban on announcements once the code of conduct comes into force. What’s the use of enforcing code of conduct on projects already announced? It stalls the development process. We could have scored much more,” he says.
Apart from flurry of ‘well-left’ deliveries, he tried to dance down the wicket to hit the ball out of the ground but failed to read the spin in it. He promised big and fancy. But delivered nothing on ground. He announced to frame policy for almost everything, agriculture, forest, industrial, water, rural development and housing etc.
But nothing fructified. His ambitious projects for Jaipur like metro, world class city and mono rail make him nothing more than a dream merchant who has a reverie for every eye. At a time when Rajasthan needs an aggression of 20-20, Gehlot’s test match style is unlikely to fare well with the state.