Sunday, February 17, 2008


Feb 08, 2008-NEW DELHI: Hot on the heels of the controversial utterances by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leader Raj Thackeray about North Indians, the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi brewed up another storm on Thursday by stating that it was a speciality of the residents of North India to derive a sense of pride in violating the law and then boasting about it.
Speaking at the launch of a “Traffic Patrol Scheme” of the Delhi Police, Mr. Tejendra Khanna raised many eyebrows with his remarks that came at a time when anti-North Indian statements have already roused enough rabble. “In this region, the situation is such that commonly it is a matter of pride to violate the law. The behaviour pattern in South India is such that the people naturally stay within the limits of the law,” he remarked.
For good measure, Mr. Khanna also quipped, “It is a speciality of North and West India that the people feel a sense of honour and pride in violating the law and boasting that no action has been taken against them”.
The Lieutenant-Governor said he had decided to make efforts to ensure that people here respect the law. “If the people overstep the limits, then the law enforcement agencies should not remain mute spectators and should take effective action,” he emphasised.
For his part, Mr. Khanna later clarified that he had only referred to “the comparatively lower level of autonomous self-compliance of traffic regulations…compared with metropolitan cities in the South which is borne out by relevant statistics”.
“This in turn leads to the need for a more effective police presence and alertness to check violations,” he added. Criticism
Only this past January Mr. Khanna had come under severe criticism over the issue of photo identity cards being made mandatory for all residents of the Capital. Following loud protests by a cross-section of political parties including the Congress and the Delhi Government, he clarified that he had been misunderstood. The matter had stirred a hornet’s nest with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar writing to the Prime Minister urging him to ensure withdrawal of the L-G’s plan as it could have been used to harass people from certain States.
With the latest remarks coming at a time when relations between Mr. Khanna and Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit are far from cosy, the “North India” issue has again generated heat and further affected power equations between the two who had not seen eye to eye with each other over the recent appointment of the State Chief Secretary and the DDA Vice-Chairperson. The issue has also given the Opposition an opportunity to target the Congress in this Delhi Assembly election year.
Already Delhi BJP president Harsh Vardhan has demanded that Mr. Khanna withdraw his statement. And while sharing this sentiment, party secretary Vijay Goel charged that “there is something wrong with the thinking of the Congress at large as last year Ms. Dikshit had made some remarks about people from UP and Bihar in Delhi”.
On the contrary, Delhi Nationalist Congress Party leader Ramvir Singh Bidhuri welcomed Mr. Khanna’s statement saying that there was a need to discipline road users in the Capital.

source: The Hindu