Perils of festival of elections

Monday Musing

[ Bengia Ajum ]

As the festival of elections hits Arunachal Pradesh, unconfirmed reports are coming in that candidates and their supporters are luring voters not only with money but also with government job offers. What is strange is that it seems like government employees are luring voters with job offers for their respective candidates.

At a time when all jobs are recruited through the APSSB and the APPSC, one wonders how this can be possible. The candidates and their supporters should stop fooling voters with such false promises. Also, despite the call for a clean election by various religious organisations and Chief Minister Pema Khandu himself, the ‘money culture’ is still very much prevalent. Some of the candidates are buying entire families and, in some cases, even whole villages.

If the candidates have to spend so heavily to win an election, how can we expect them to carry out development work? His or her five-year tenure will be spent on recovering the money that they are spending now, and also, he or she has to get ready for the next election. Still, there is time. The educated lot should resist the offer of short-term benefits of cash-for-vote and elect the leaders whose goals is the development of their respective constituencies. Remember, once you sell your votes, you will have no right to criticise the leader for the next five years. So, give it a thought and introspect.

Another thing about the upcoming elections which is not healthy for a tribal state like ours is the practice of non-natives trying to contest elections from districts like Namsai and Changlang. There is no doubt that in a democratic setup like ours, anybody can fight elections anywhere. But ours is a tribal state and we usually tend to respect each other’s territorial influence and do not infringe on it. But this year, many non-native candidates are entering into the fray in Namsai and Changlang districts. They include prominent names like former Yachuli MLA Likha Saaya, who has announced his candidature from the Namsai assembly constituency. In the Lekang assembly constituency, there are candidates like Tana Tamar Tara and Likha Soni, and also another candidate is former MLA Nikh Kamin from the Bordumsa assembly constituency. They are not natives of these districts and their entry has upset the tribal bodies of Khamti and Singpho tribes, who are natives of Namsai and Changlang, respectively.

It will be for the good of the state if people respect one another’s tribal territory and maintain the status quo. Already there is less representation of the minor tribes in the state assembly. They will feel more alienated if people from other districts start entering their district to fight elections and deprive them of political representation in the state assembly.