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Monday, May 30, 2011

डॉ.अथिकुल ह. Laskar

Dr. Athiqul H. Laskar is the sole recipient of

2011 BHARTYA VIKAS RAATAN AWARD—NEW DELHI
For his valuable contribution to the rural youth of the Northeast.

कानांत इंस्टिट्यूट ईन्त्रोदुक्त्रिओन

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Election and thereafter

Election and thereafter

Dr.Athiqul H. Laskar


Tarun Gogoi is set for an unprecedented third term as Chief Minister of Assam. Voters gave his party, the Congress, 76 of the 126 seats in Assam - five more than what the party had in the last Assembly. Mr Gogoi said that the developmental work of his government has given his party a victory. He said that the secret is if you work sincerely and work hard for the people. They will repose faith in you...that's what has happened here in Assam. He further added that his firm handling of underground groups like the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) that has convinced Assam that its chief minister is very much a man in charge. Mr Gogoi has shown a fine instinctual understanding of how to negotiate with these groups without capitulating to their agendas.

The two main parties- the Assam Gana Parishad (AGP) and the BJP failed to strike an alliance, splitting the vote of those who are not Congress-seekers.

The Congress won 78 seats, 25 more then it won in the 2006 assembly elections. The Bodoland People's Party (BPF), an ally of the Congress, won 12 seats. The two main opposition parties - the AGP and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - were literally decimated. The AGP managed to win in just 10 seats, down from 24 in the 2006 polls, and the BJP in five seats, five less then what it got in the last assembly elections.

Peace talks with ULFA proved to be a masterstroke that catapulted the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress party back to power. After nearly three decades of insurgency, peace talks by the state government and the Centre led to ULFA distancing itself from being directly involved in the election process.

Even the experts and political commentators believed that there was huge anti-establishment sentiment growing amongst the common people of the state. Exit polls conducted by national media houses predicted that the state was witnessing a hung assembly although they thought that the Congress would still emerge as the single largest party. But the common voters thought otherwise and they exactly knew whom to vote to power. The main opposition party AGP and its hidden ally and the BJP were confident to form the next government. In reality both parties failed miserably; AGP just has managed to touch the double digit figure of mere 10 while BJP just has won meager 5 seats.

The peasant leader led movement against construction of big dam in lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh. He waged a war against powerful state ministers including the chief minister of the state. His campaign against corruption lost focus when he concentrated on personal attacks on the powerful minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma. His arrogance, uncivilized attitude attracted media attention but failed to convince common people of the state. He brought peasant movement to the streets of capital of the state. The opposition parties were confident that there were anti establishment sentiments in the state and it would be easier for them to win elections.

“People have voted for peace, development and stability,” said Wasbir Hussain, director, Centre for Development and Peace Studies. “The Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government had provided a stable administration which focused on issues of social welfare and peace.”

“Militancy in the state has gone down drastically and that has been appreciated by the common man as well as the trade and business community,” he said. “Now there is a great aspiration for development, for better education and employment opportunities, especially among the emerging youth of Assam.”

Tarun Gogoi believes the development which he had initiated a decade back and which became visible only in the last five years contributed greatly to the overwhelming victory of the Congress in Assam. In 2006, we took up a number of welfare and development schemes. This time, these schemes have been implemented and development has become visible .In the final count, his party won 78 seats, far beyond Congress and even Gogoi's expectations.

The Congress under Gogoi's leadership attained power in 2001 with 72 seats in the 126-member legislative assembly by defeating the AGP. Gogoi led the Congress to a second term in 2006, but managed just 53 seats. He was forced to go for a coalition with the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF)

Regarding corruption, especially the multi-crore NC Hills funds scam that rocked his government, he felt appropriate damage control steps at the right time salvaged the situation. "I admitted there was corruption. Again, it was I who initiated a CBI probe into the allegations. People understood where things had gone wrong," said Gogoi, adding, "I give credit to the people of Assam for trusting us."

What difference to the people? Be that as it may, we are back to the million-dollar question that must be agitating everyone in the State: Is it going to make any difference to the people which party or coalition forms the government? It is hardly going to make any difference at all to solve the problem of foreign nationals illegally living in the State because all political parties in Assam have had to approach the Bangladeshis for their votes. There was no mention of the IM(DT) Act and the need to repeal it or of the need to clean up the electoral roll of the names of illegal voters from Bangladesh —issues that were at the top of the people’s agenda. The very political party formed by the AASU to solve the foreign nationals’ pro. If the development plank the Congress rode on in the two previous elections endeared itself to voters in Assam, the near-absence of militancy for a considerable time made the party's position stronger in the 2011 assembly election. Now peace process in Assam shall be further strengthened...

Now we can look forward to development, like the rest of the country, which includes jobs and better connectivity,” People of Assam are hopeful. “Peace has always eluded us but, finally, this government seems to have done the impossible.” Utpal Deka of Nalbari district, a hotbed of insurgency, agreed.
“Earlier, we could not get out of our houses in the evening because of fear of ULFA and, hence, most of us who are young would be sent out to study. But now, more and more of us are planning to stay on and work right here, especially with enhanced development prospects.”

With the aim of ending nearly three decades of insurgency in the state, peace talks with ULFA initiated by chief minister Gogoi, along with the Centre, resulted in the outfit not involving itself directly in the elections by either calling for a boycott or obstructing the electoral process.

This was the first election in decades where fundamental issues such as development and transparency in governance took centre stage.

“People have voted for peace, development and stability,” said Wasbir Hussain, director, Centre for Development and Peace Studies. “The Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government had provided a stable administration which focused on issues of social welfare and peace.”

“Militancy in the state has gone down drastically and that has been appreciated by the common man as well as the trade and business community,” he said. “Now there is a great aspiration for development, for better education and employment opportunities, especially among the youth.”

The future of people of Assam depends upon how the new Government is able to fulfil its poll promises.

KEY AGENDA OF THE WINNING PARTY

• Reforms in the financial sector, increasing per capita income, establishing an Assam investment development corporation, and giving special packages for scheduled castes and tribes and other backward classes
• Reforms in education, including absorbing 100,000 youth in the education sector, apart from setting up a high-level knowledge commission and a state education commission
• Focus on panchayat and rural development, including setting up a commission to formulate measures to uplift the rural economy
• Increasing the number of police stations and outposts
• Attempting to enlist six communities as schedule tribes

One thing is sure the Peace in Assam has hope and Development and employment opportunity enhances with continuous peace.

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