Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thank God, Bishnu Survived Hunger Death!

Thank God, Bishnu Survived Hunger Death!

By Zubair Ahmed

Until death do I fast, had proclaimed Bishnu Pada Ray, the lone Member of Parliament aggrieved due to removal of a statue of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose at Diglipur, North Andaman.

He had given ultimatum to Andaman and Nicobar Administration to reinstate the statue or he will sit on hunger strike unto death, if the demand is not met.

Bishnu withdrew the hunger strike, as a senior bureaucrat was flown in an helicopter exclusively from Port Blair to Diglipur to hand deliver the letter of assurance from the Administration.

What contained in the letter of assurance is quite obvious, a convenient excuse to end the drama. The latest embarrassment to both the Member of Parliament as well as the Administration is as of now averted.

Soon after withdrawal of his two and an half hour hunger strike between breakfast and lunch, Bishnu sent a press release mentioning that he had written to the President of India as well as Prime Minister of India on this issue to put pressure on the local Administration. He also claimed that the Administration had to wake up and act, or Delhi would have acted upon them.

What a tragic end to a clear mandate given to a Member of Parliament, who has to write to Delhi to get a statue re-instated! Doesn't this prove his clout or influence or lack of it over the local administration?

Had been mentioning time and again that the formidable challenge for the Administrator would be Bishnu Pada Ray in the coming days. And, he is proving it on a day to day basis that behold, I am the perpetual irritant, you all deserve.

Why a three time MP with clear majority and his own Govt in power at Centre needs to stoop to such levels to prove a point? Are the bureaucrats or the Administrator beyond his reach or control?

In his own words, it seems the major conquest in the statue debacle was the helicopter he could make fly from Port Blair carrying a letter through a emissary. Is there nobody to question the colossal waste of public money to gain a brownie point? What is perplexing is the way the Administration handled the issue. Re-instating a statue as per the wish of the MP was not a big deal. It could have given him the leverage as well as saved the time and energy and constitution of a high-level committee (formation of committees is the new way of life) and all the drama surrounding the issue. But, Administration, it seems also wanted to prove a point, in the same mode, which looks unreasonable.

If he starts writing to President of India and Prime Minister on such issues, who will he approach, if there is a 'genuine' issue necessitating his intervention? The Secretary General of United Nations?

Its quite obvious that Bishnu's misadventures are seriously affecting the development of the Islands. Questions are being asked about his achievements in the last six months. His somersaults in various issues are becoming quite evident. In Medical College issue, ANCOL, aversion towards areas where he could not garner votes, especially tribals and his recent spats with various officials are all in the public domain. Moreover, what he is getting back from officials is also no more a secret.

He is acting as a redundant one-man army against the whole administration, which is not required. Not a single official in the Administration seems to be in his good books. In fact, he has started repeating himself.

Channelising his energy and time in frivolous issues is not going to take him anywhere. The day is not far when Delhi too starts circumventing him, if he doesn't mend his ways.

Long four years are ahead, and if he behaves the same way, nothing remains unpredictable for the Island territory in the coming years. As of now, he has only foes and foes. And, in the long run, undoubtedly, he will turn many of his friends also into foes.

When BJP is engaged in embracing Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and others, 'Little' Modi as Bishnu refers to himself needs to learn a lesson or two from PM Modi in public relations. Or the path that he has embarked upon will be not only an embarrassment for the party he represents, but a perpetual annoyance for the Island territory, which has only one Member of Parliament for anything and everything.