BS Bassi was appointed as a member of Union Public Service Commission by the Centre, three months post his retirement as Delhi’s Police Commissioner. The UPSC is a 10 member committee which conducts examinations for Indian Administrative Services and Indian Police Services and other such services. Bassi will be one of the members of the same.
He became a regular name in the news, especially since the Aam Aadmi Party had come to power. Both took potshots at each other every now and then. AAP accused Bassi of being the mouthpiece of the Central Government and acting on their cue, a charge that he claimed was his loyalty to his duty and nothing else.
The issue that got him the most limelight for all the wrong reasons was the JNU issue. He was heavily criticized for the way he handled the issue and received immense flak for the arrest of JNUSU’s President Kanhaiya Kumar.
He was earlier in contention for a post in the Central Information Commission to which the Congress fiercely opposed. But unlike in CIC, the Centre has a free hand in selecting the Chairperson and members of the UPSC.
AAP claimed that Bassi has been ‘obliged’ by the Centre for being their ‘senior spokesperson’.
This incident takes one to another appointment by the BJP i.e. Kiran Bedi as the Lt Governor of Puducherry. Indeed she was the BJP electoral candidate in Delhi elections 2015. But from a long time before the elections she spoke against the AAP and when her behind-the-scene association with BJP was questioned, she clearly refused and claimed that she criticized AAP because they had lost their objective by venturing into politics. Later on, BJP appointed her as the Chief Ministerial candidate which put all her criticism of AAP under scrutiny as to whether it was coming from an objective and individual perspective or there was the BJP’s influence.
Moreover, she was appointed as the Governor three days after the Congress-DMK won the Puducherry Assembly. The post of the Governor is itself such a controversial one and its misuse by the Centre has always been contested.
The regular scuffle between AAP and Najeeb Jung, for instance, wherein AAP claims the Governor’s role to be of interference and obstruction on the cue of the Centre and Najeeb Jung accuses the party of not following proper guidelines in their way or working.
One questions whether the appointments of Bassi and Kiran Bedi are really for any good. It is either for vendetta or frantic decisions to counter the opposite party. What relevance and integrity these positions hold in such a scenario.
When the Centre can whimsically appoint or remove people at will, it happens to create dummies out of people and the positions at which they are appointed become nothing but obstacles in the smooth functioning of the body under them. There is purely partisan politics at play. What arises out of the mix is petty conflicts every other day and the State Government or any other body gets diverted from its objective of serving the people by getting stuck in petty political brawls.
Although there have been controversial appointments in the past as well, especially during Indira Gandhi’s tenure but now these appointments have become so visibly barefaced that no one even cares to cover them by providing a seemingly logical reasoning. They have become open and quick political responses to the Opposition to be used as a weapon to obstruct and counter their exercise of power.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.