But when he began giving statistics and a report card on the things which have already been done, decisions that have been already taken and are now in implementation, the numbers of erring bureaucrats served notices for dereliction of duties, and doctors who were sent strict government orders to return one crore each for refusing to serve in hilly areas as per their bond with the state government, I was stunned and delighted.
I am speaking about Trivendra Singh Rawat, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, whom I heard today in Haldwani. I have never heard someone so low profile making such a powerful presentation and I immediately thought this is how Modi and Shah help people come up and make a space for them in the future. Till yesterday, Trivendra was one of us; today, he looked so different and extraordinary. How many parties today can claim to have this sort of mechanism where newer and refreshing faces are given such path-making opportunities? That's the difference between the saffron cadre and others - saffron thinks of the next hundred years and can wait with patience, the others rise and fall with their family fortunes.
In fact, what Trivendra said was not a speech. It was not a politician holding a high office of the chief executive giving a boring speech, matter of fact-ly, to yawning members of the state executive. He didn't raise his voice, thunder or promise newer skies and brighter dawns to never-ending applause.
He was plain-speaking to an audience that perhaps didn't get the real significance of his 50-minute deliberation. The audience was after all used to hearing high-pitched words, great warnings, cyclonic sentences they never understood, but always enjoyed.
But this man gave a report card that instilled fear in many as his cold demeanor conveyed that he meant what he said. He didn't promise, he presented facts - hard facts of things he has already done.
He said Uttarakhand has had the largest numbers of strikes by everyone - government employees, teachers and everyone else; a flood of stop-work protests last year (22,000 in one year). Tamil Nadu, a much larger state, is second with 17,000 strikes.
How can we survive such atrocious occurrences of "no-work" protests? We now have a full majority, hence, Trivendra said, we have decided not to yield to such threats by government employees. Redressal of their woes will happen but not this way.
The stinking cases of corruption are being unearthed - small sheds, which could have been built at a three or four lakhs per unit, were built at a whopping cost of 17 lakhs per unit. They looted the state mercilessly. One and half a metric tonnes of grains were shown as transported on two-wheelers. This is what we have already began investigating, a merciless plunder of state wealth,as he described it.
And, he continued, we provide India's cheapest medical education to youngsters - just 50,000 rupees per student for a four-year MBBS degree - and we have an honest bond with them, that they will serve in hilly villages for three years. The last government threw away this condition and none of the degree-holders served the state. 450 such doctors, who violated the signed agreement, have been served notices to return a crore each for taking the state's large-heartedness for granted.
IAS officers treated lightly the need to attend Independence Day programmes - more than 54 such IAS and IPS officers of the state have been served show-cause notices to report to the government why they were absent from the state function on August 15 this year.
Most of the state capital offices have been equipped with biometric apps that not just show record the presence or attendance of employees but also indicate the movement of files: red means too late, yellow means in process, and green means it's done! The project cost was 13 crores, but seeing the Chief Minister's enthusiasm, a Gujarati entrepreneur installed it free. Wow!
Not just 600 village panchayats are being empowered but a decision has been taken to provide a government job to a family member of martyred soldiers. In the works: a direct flight connection to Pithoragarh - the remotest tower that took two days by bus to reach Delhi, a shooting academy promised by Rajyavardhan Rathore, whose sasural (in-laws house) is in Almora and a state-of-the-art international convention centre, which will be unique and the first of its kind in India.
I wish someone would put this speech on YouTube. A no-frills, no-thunder speech, but it created 100 shocks for normal political speech listeners. I left Ram Madhav's Think India festival in Goa to attend my state executive meeting of the BJP and was amply rewarded to be here.
Well done, Trivendra Singh Rawat, a former RSS pracharak, who was a young correspondent of Panchjanya too. I really felt we are seeing a young leader emerging in the Himalayas with a long innings.
And I said to myself, one may differ with Amit Shah on a hundred issues the as opposition loves to do, but one thing his worst enemies also concede: he has an eye for identifying the right man for the right job. Low key, but focused, with an impeccable passion for delivering results.
This is something that Rahul will have to learn. The hard way.
(Tarun Vijay is a BJP leader and former MP from Uttarakhand. He is also President of Students and Youth for Thiruvalluvar, Tamil Nadu with a registered membership of 2.2 lakh students.)
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