Jan 23, 2007

When Honesty Doesn't Pay

In the eyes of the Indian public the politicians are one of the most reviled persons, as most of them are perceived to be corrupt to the core. Someone in Punjab wanted to disprove this and in his pursuit of this noble endeavour he annoyed certain people close to the high command and now he has paid the price for that indiscretion.

Credentials like 'best parliamentarian' and 'whistleblower' have not helped a Congress legislator in Punjab get a ticket to contest the assembly elections next month.

Vocal and controversial Bir Devinder Singh has been denied a chance to contest from Kharar constituency with the Congress giving the ticket to Mohali district party president Balbir Singh Sidhu, a local liquor distributor.'

The denial of ticket is a conspiracy by the land and liquor mafia in my area. I will talk to my supporters and decide the next course of action,' Bir Devinder said, indicating that he was on the verge of leaving the Congress.

Then legislator, who has been with the party for three decades, had been declared the 'best parliamentarian' in the Punjab assembly only two years ago. He also remained deputy speaker of the state assembly.

He is known for his bold stand on various issues and earned the sobriquet 'whistleblower' in political circles for exposing various scandals, including those that went against his own party's government. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state Congress president Shamsher Singh Dullo were not happy with him.

Bir Devinder had opposed the government's move to bring a private universities bill in the assembly. He was against a 'halwai' businessman from Jalandhar being allowed to set up the state's first private university despite not having any credentials in the education field.

He had raised other issues against the government as well - embarrassing Amarinder Singh on several occasions.

Bir Devinder was always in the news for inspection of various government services like hospitals, schools, colleges and public-dealing offices and exposing absenteeism and lack of work culture by government officials.

He recently got embroiled in controversy after recommending the transfer of a pregnant woman doctor in a government clinic after he heard her taking his name in a manner he felt was disrespectful to a legislator. The issue led to a protest by doctors though it was later resolved.[IANS]

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