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Punjab, a state for the self-reliant 

For all their cynicism born out of ages of experience, humans continue to be beguiled by hope and promise. And, therefore, the customary casting of the eye into the New Year to scan for any signs of green shoots. What can Punjab the state and its people hope for in 2018?

Promises are for leaders to make. Hope, too, lives only among those who already have more than their bodily needs, for they expect growth. They are the ones who have jobs, reasonable-sized lands, inherited money, a small business, political connections, or a visa…. The destitute — the ones for whom everyone, including the media, pretends to care — have lived life too close to reality to be fooled by promise.

The lives of all three — the leaders, the haves, and the have-nots — however, are intertwined, and the government remains the driver of hope. January 1 may thus be a good time to see what each may aspire for in the New Year.

For itself, the Capt Amarinder Singh government seems to have given up all ambition early in the day, if it ever had any. It seems to believe it is in power because it was their ‘turn’, and, therefore, their right. Not something they won. Not something they can win again, because it will again be the ‘turn’ of the other, the SAD-BJP. So just make hay while the sun shines.

This charge is borne out by the fact that more the allegations of wrongdoings pile up on those around the Chief Minister, the less he seems to care. A man reputed to be able to take bold decisions, is yet to take one. A leader born into a family of rulers is presiding over a bureaucracy that is increasingly running a government of its own, in the Secretariat as well as the districts. Nine months into government, no major reform measure has been set in motion, nor has any visionary plan come into force that may change the course of the state. All that the Congress dispensation is doing is holding the baton till it is time to hand it over.

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