Missing a Mayor

Saturday, 16 January 2021



Missing a Mayor

Swapnil Bharali | June 22, 2019 13:32 hrs

Let me recall for you “Ward Talks.” It was an initiative of G Plus where we took accountability to the micro level of the wards of the city and discussed issues pertaining to each ward with the respective ward councillors and area sabha members in the presence of the general public who essentially were residents of that ward. In our attempts to gain a wider reach and greater accountability, we often managed to rope in Guwahati’s Mayor, the local police OC, GMC and GMDA authorities, the media and, on most occasions, the local MLA. The meetings were animated, issues were discussed threadbare, ideas for improvement of each ward were bounced and finally a score card prepared that basically held the minutes of the meeting as also the issues that needed to be addressed within a given timeframe. 

Good old days when the GMC council of elected representatives was in place! Since 31st July 2018 however, the citizens of Guwahati have been left bereft of representation and the consequences are there for all to see today. The city is in a total mess basically with haphazard and seemingly unplanned construction of footpaths and dividers (and not roads for some strange reason) going on, unabated vendor settlements on any footpath that one can come across giving a picture that the whole city is one large vending zone, random electrical outages with no one to complain to, messy vehicle parking all over, overflowing garbage bins and an apathetic municipal body et al. Well, it’s been virtually a year now and the city’s council elections seem to be the last thing on anyone’s mind.

When the previous council’s tenure ended on 31st July last, the assumption was that an election would be held immediately. That was not the case perhaps because the general elections were slated for May 2019 and an adverse result in the city against the incumbent state government might have sent bad signals to the rest of the state. Whatever be the case, it is now imperative that the GMC council elections be given top priority simply because Guwahati is presently being treated as an orphan and its upkeep seems to be nobody’s business. A city as large as this and which is considered the metro of the northeast needs its Mayor and only then some accountability will set in.

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