It is raining jobs and promotions in Rajasthan, where state elections are months away. Over 6,000 policemen will be promoted today at an event in Jaipur by Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje. They have been asked to bring two family members along.
While the services rendered by sanitation workers were appreciated at a grand function earlier this year, educators were honoured at a similar event on Teacher's Day. Now 6,082 constables have been promoted to head constable by the BJP government.
Rival Congress calls it "misuse of government machinery" and has written to Chief Secretary DB Gupta. The party's Ashok Gehlot, a former Chief Minister, alleged that Ms Raje's programmes were a blatant attempt to help the BJP gain traction ahead of the assembly election. The letter also objected to the chief minister's "Gaurav Yatra" - a statewide tour to showcase her government's work.
The Congress also questioned the mass promotions handed out to constables. "Such promotions should be granted after constables have completed their cadre course, but the government is in a hurry. It wants to gain political mileage for the electoral battle ahead," said Mr Gehlot.
The Rajasthan government recently ruled that policemen can be promoted on the basis of seniority, without having to complete their cadre course. The constables to be promoted have completed 18 years in service, officials explain.
The government defended the move. "The promotions have been done for the good of the people. It was a part of the budget announcement," said government spokesperson Rajendra Rathore.
The Raje government scored a minor legal victory on Tuesday when the Rajasthan High Court ruled that the promotions can be handed out as long as an account is kept of the expenditure. Jaipur lawyer Pramod Singh had petitioned the court against the promotion event, alleging "governmental misuse of public funds and government machinery to gain political mileage".
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