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TRIBUNE SEPT 16-The face on the bicycle Good deeds, not pictures, count

September 16, 2013 05:20 AM

The face on the bicycle
Good deeds, not pictures, count

NARCISSISM, one thought, was an exclusive prerogative of page-3 people who often go to ludicrous extents to ensure their pictures are splashed all over. However, in India our political class is as afflicted by the “I, me, myself” syndrome. Rarely do they spare any photo-op and love to see their beaming visages smiling down from all conceivable angles and positions. Nothing it seems can deter them to chin up and pose for the perfect shot. Not surprising, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s photo enthusiasm too shows little signs of ebbing.

In fact, a Union minister’s warning to have his picture removed from the National Rural Health Mission's ambulances seems to have pushed him into a more active gear. Not only has the Punjab government adamantly refused to remove his photograph from ambulances, a move that is likely to cost the public exchequer Rs 3.5 crore, but nearly 1.5 lakh bicycles to be given to girls under the Punjab government’s ambitious Mai Bhago Vidya scheme will also carry the Chief Minister’s photo.

Perhaps, few one can have issues with the scheme itself launched to empower women. The initiative to provide free bicycles to girls studying in Classes XI and XII certainly has its uses. In states like Bihar bicycles have proved to be a game-changer in the field of education and have enabled young girls to attend schools with greater regularity. So when Mr Badal reiterates that with or without funds from the Centre, brakes will not be applied on free cycles for girls, his intentions can't be entirely faulted. Welfare schemes might often be devised with a keen eye on vote banks but can prove to be beneficial. However, Mr Badal would do well to remember in the final reckoning of elections it's not in-your-face gestures but good governance that counts. Besides, Mr Badal doesn't need cycle parts and ambulances to remind his voters who their Chief Minister was.

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