In open letter, Kharge urges bureaucracy to follow Constitution, act without ill-will

Mallikarjun Kharge
Mallikarjun Kharge

New Delhi | Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday wrote an open letter to the country's bureaucracy on the eve of counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections, urging officers to adhere to the Constitution and serve the nation without fear, favour and ill-will against anybody.

"Do not get intimidated by anyone. Do not bow down to any Unconstitutional means. Do not be afraid of anyone and discharge your duties, based on merit, on this counting day," he wrote.

"We owe it to future generations, a vibrant Democracy and a long-lasting Constitution, as penned by the makers of modern India," he said.

The counting of votes polled in the Lok Sabha polls will be held om Tuesday.

"In this hope that India remains truly Democratic in nature, I extend good wishes to each one of you, and expect that our eternal ideals of the Constitution remain untarnished," the Congress chief said.

In his appeal to all civil servants and officers, he said he is writing in his capacity of the Leader of the Opposition (Rajya Sabha) and as the president of the Indian National Congress.

He congratulated the Election Commission of India, the Central Armed Forces, state police forces, civil servants, district collectors, volunteers and all in the bureaucracy who were involved in the smooth conduct of the mammoth and historic general elections.

"Our inspiration and India's First Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel famously called the civil servants as the 'Steel frame of India'. The people of India are well aware that it is the Indian National Congress which established numerous institutions, laid their solid foundation, and devised mechanisms for their independence, on the basis of the Constitution of India.

"Independence of the institutions is paramount, for every civil servant takes oath of the Constitution that they 'will faithfully and conscientiously discharge their duties and will do right to all manner of people in accordance with the Constitution and the law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will'," he said.

"In this spirit we expect every bureaucrat and officer – from top to bottom of the hierarchy, to discharge their duties in the spirit of the Constitution, without any coercion, threat, pressure or intimidation either from the ruling party/coalition or from the opposition party/coalition," the Congress chief said in his letter.

He said that the Congress, through the Constitution prepared by inspirational founding members such as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, B R Ambedkar, Rajendra Prasad, Maulana Azad, Sarojini Naidu and countless others, not only created a framework of strong governance, but also ensured affirmative action through representation of the marginalised in the bureaucracy and the civil society.

"The last decade has witnessed a systemic pattern to assault, undermine and suppress our autonomous institutions by the ruling party. India's Democratic ethos are being consequently damaged. There is a widespread tendency to turn India into a regimental dictatorship.

"We are increasingly seeing some institutions shedding their independence and brazenly following the diktats of the ruling party. Some have completely adopted their style of communication, their way of functioning, and in some cases even their political rhetoric," Kharge said.

But it is not their fault, he said. "With brute power, threat, coercive mechanisms and misuse of agencies, this tendency to bow to the powers that have become a way for their short-term survival. Even though, in this denigration, India's Constitution and Democracy have become a casualty."

He also said that the "will of the people" is supreme, and people want Indian bureaucracy to again be the same 'Steel frame of India' as envisaged by Sardar Patel.

"Indian National Congress now urges the entire bureaucracy, to adhere to the Constitution, enact their duties, and serve the nation, without fear, favour and ill-will against anybody," Kharge said.

Counting for the crucial 2024 Lok Sabha elections would be held on Tuesday and both the ruling NDA and the opposition INDIA bloc have claimed victory.

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