By Dr Navanil Barua,
Political commentator, Neurosurgeon.
With great hopes, People of Assam elected a BJP government in Assam, about one and half years ago. The AGP and BPF also is a part of the coalition. So strong was the mandate that BJP single handedly could have formed the government. The main plank of this change of power was a key word called “PORIBORTON’, meaning change. The prolonged rule of the Congress, the allegations of corruptions, infighting etc, all made people seek a change and it got one . Question now arises – did they actually get a change? If so, is the change for better?
Even if we do not delve into the depths, a superficial look will easily reveal that the answers to both the question is negative! 18 months out of 60 is by no means short period. While major overhaul may not be visible, atleast the early signs should have been definite and incontrovertible by now. Do we see any signs? Sadly, I do not see any. Let’s recollect the government’s priorities over 1 & ½ years. First, it went back on the land boundary agreement and its stand on Megadam. The major corruption charges against the past government were Sharada and Louis Berger. Both are now in the cold storage effectively. Secret Killings seems a forgotten word. Instead, we find a government totally obsessed with Akhil Gogoi !! Arrest him; keep him incarcerated by any means. Why? Is he such a powerful man that those in power need to be scared? He was arrested on one charge. When this did not hold, the draconian NSA was imposed on him. He was arrested once in the past too by this same govt. unfortunately, the Govt hasn’t been able to get the courts with them. So, when even NSA was squashed, he is arrested in a case where the FIR did not even name him!! If this is not desperation, what is? It is quite evident to even a layman that if justice prevails, even this charge will not hold. What could be the reason of the Govt going after Akhil hammer and Tongs? If one analyses the section of the population who has been KMSS’ traditional support, it would be clear that the RSS logically would also target the same section to make itself strong and permanent. Economics being a bigger draw than religion, Akhil naturally wins on this segment. Moreover, BJP is traditionally a darling of corporates evidenced by lavish allotments of scarce lands to outside corporate. Akhil is a thorn for them! The other priorities of the government are equally strange! When education is in doldrums with govt. schools closing down, it is obsessed with naming schools in Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s name. The health sector, Investment, job creation, industrialization and infrastructure development etc are in doldrums. The government is in a limbo with files being stuck at various levels. The Hindu Bangladeshi import could prove to be the last nail in Assamese coffin.
What are the things government should prioritise instead of being obsessed with Akhil ?
Unemployment is reached garangatuan proportions. The recent rise in ULFA activities points to ominous days ahead. Government finances are in a mess. Flood relief and repair, Road conditions, welfare schemes. Power situation… all in disarray. Government must seriously work with Centre to organize its due funds. Internal revenue augmentation needs to be done as a matter of priority. Health, Education needs serious attention. Special care to see that corrupt practices of past (syndicates, commisssionraj etc) are not resumed. The threat of annihilation of the Assamese locals needs to be allayed and state govt should refuse to accommodate foreigners irrespective of religion. Communal amity needs guarding. Food prices, falling agriculture also is very important. Above all, the most visible inactivity of a government is the poor road conditions even in the arterial highway. The state finances need urgent augmentation, newer revenue resources needs to be tapped. All effort at tourism seems not working enough. An audit of the efforts with newer strategies is a must.
Wake up BJP government, Assam needs better things from you than restraining Akhil Gogoi.