100 days of governance: an evaluation and some reminders
After ascending the throne, lashing the Congress government which had ruled Assam for 15 long years, it is natural that the people of Assam harbor huge expectations from the BJP government. Addressing a press conference on the occasion of the completion of 100 days in power, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said, “My ministers are working towards fulfilling all the promises for the betterment of the state, although 100 days are not enough to justify it.”
Considered as ‘Jatiya Nayak,’ Sonowal stepped into power with three basic promises – protection of the Jaati (identity of the indigenous people), Maati (land), and Bheti (homestead).
Here’s a quick performance check of the good, bad and the ugly over the course of the three months of the Sarbananda government.
Sarbananda came to power with the big announcement of stopping his convoy at traffic signals and not annoyance for the public. This has definitely sent a good vibe among the people. For the first time, the CM’s convoy was limited to just seven vehicles which has set an example for future chief ministers. He also abolished all check gates which had become hubs of syndicates and illegal activities since the regime of the preceding government, with immediate effect. Soon after coming to power, Sonowal turned his attention to take stock of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) work progress, its updation and revision. Bringing a huge turn around in the employment scenario of Assam, Sarbananda abolished viva interview rounds for the 3rd and 4th grade Assam government employees. One of the brave initiatives undertaken by Sonowal was to implement anti-corruption measures which led to the suspension of senior officials like Mahat Talukdar who had been exploiting the heritage of Assam since a long time. As promised, BJP Government has taken every step to eradicate rhino poaching within Kaziranga National Park which effectively has led to the arrest of a hundred poachers till date. To make the best out of the rhino horns in the global market, the government has considered undertaking a survey of all the rhino horns lying in the government treasuries which has unearthed one the world’s largest rhino horns. Standing on one of the major promises of reviving the cultural ethos of Assam, the government has reached out to the film fraternity across the state. The Silpi and Kalakaushali Kalyan Nidhi implemented with Rs 1 crore is a move worth considering. Adding to it, the pensions of the cine artists have also been raised. The TET qualifiers of the state have finally seen a ray of hope, with the regularization of posts of more than 17,000 teachers.
Guwahati has witnessed nearly 200 cases of late night accidents from May to August. What is worse is the fact that most of the accidents were reported to be consequences of drunken driving. Shockingly, these happened in the city right after the BJP Govt came to power when the city did not have a DCP Traffic for almost two months after the transfer of Pranab J. Goswami. Before stepping into power, Sarbanada assured safety and security of the state and promised to set up basic infrastructure and civic amenities in the vulnerable areas. Contrary to this, Kokrajhar and Tinsukia witnessed some of the worst open terrorist attacks at public places during this short reign of Sarbananda Sonowal. Sarbananda’s promise of zero tolerance towards terrorism is clearly the biggest failure till date if we consider the bad. The 100 days have also been marked by a spurt in militant activity by ULFA and NDFB factions. “People are already beginning to lose faith in the new government,” said Assam Pradesh Congress president Ripun Bora. “Agitations, road blockades, burning of the CM’s effigies, rhino poaching, price rise, militant attacks — the list of things that should not have happened but have happened is growing longer.” Another failure of the government is failure to stop illegal migration within the state. The floods only added to his woes and a helpless Sarbananda has now proposed dredging the mighty Brahmaputra as a possible solution.
There cannot be anything worse than the failure to curb price rise during the Sarbananda regime. The VAT has increased by huge margins which has hit the common people hard. Also, the prices of daily groceries have sky-rocketed. The petrol and diesel prices have gone high too, bringing tough days for the public in day to day life. There have also been rampant cases of kidnapping, trafficking, crime against women.
Though hundred days of being in power is quite a short time to end up judging the efficiency of the Government, it is long enough to give people the hope and impression of a better Assam. While cases like the Adishree rescue have given the people of Assam a new hope from the authorities, there have also been issues which have been affecting the masses. Considering all the pros and cons during the 100 days of Sarbananda Government, people of Assam can only hope for a state that stands true to the ideology of ‘Paribartan’: a state which grows along with all the three elements of protecting Jaati, Maati and Bheti.