[ Taba Ajum ]
With the assembly election just months away, the political scenario in the state is heating up. The streets of the capital complex are being decorated with banners of wannabes declaring their candidature. Everywhere, the topic of gossip and discussion is politics.
The political atmosphere is heating up so much so that in various tribe, clan and even family WhatsApp groups heated debates about politics and potential candidates are raging on. In Arunachal Pradesh, elections are virtually like festivals. Candidates throw money and people happily accept it.
In the last one decade, a new culture of government servants resigning from their positions to contest elections is emerging in the state. There is nothing wrong with it, but it leaves the grassroots political workers in a lurch. If officers and businessmen parachute in to become MLAs, what about the real grassroots politicians who have leadership qualities but no money? Many of them sincerely work at the grassroots for years with the hope of one day becoming an MLA or an MP. No young people with leadership qualities and the willingness to contribute to the society will join politics if this trend of only rich men becoming MLAs continues in the state.
In the election season, development usually takes a back seat and politics takes the front seat. Politicians, especially the sitting MLAs, get scared of developmental projects.
“If this road project is sanctioned now, my workers will start asking for contract works. It will not be possible for me to provide work orders to all the workers. Those who don’t get contract works will start rumbling against me and ultimately it will hurt my prospects,” a sitting minister recently told a journalist friend. So, basically, most of the development projects are put on hold during election time. Also, political rivals create obstacles in the implementation of development schemes by filing police and court cases to make life miserable for one another.
Of all, the biggest hindrance to election is the cunning tactic of ministers to keep files pending in their offices in order to make some quick money from the contractors. This happens because everyone needs money to fight elections, and that’s where the problem lies. The people of Arunachal put themselves up for sale in the election market, and the person who makes the highest bid buys their votes. Even before a person votes, they sell themselves to the highest bidder. Technically speaking, they become slaves of these politicians after selling their votes.
For the next five years, even if there is no development and MLAs are busy earning, the persons who have sold their votes will have no moral right to question their leaders. Therefore, this new year, take a vow to vote for only those leaders who have a vision of development in the 2019 assembly and parliament elections. Don’t sell your precious votes to the bidders. It is time to make ourselves invaluable in the true sense.