Friday, June 14, 2024

Saikia’s first year as CM


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There is an apparent contradiction in the Assam Governor’s claim, in his address to the State Assembly last week, of a general improvement in the law and order situation in the State and the Union Law Minister Jagannath Kaushal’s statement in the Lok Sabha about the same time that conditions in Assam were not conducive even for undertaking intensive revision of electoral rolls because of tension in many areas, as reported by the Election Commissioner. Not that this obvious contradiction is not recognized by the Assam government as well, on the basis of whose report had the Election Commissioner made this assessment. A reconciliation of the two statements would, however, be quite admissible in a situation in which while the crude outbursts of forces of destabilization have largely been contained, the subtle psychological factors working for a change of heart between the warring communities would take time to become more perceptible and effective.

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It cannot, on the whole, be disputed that Mr Saikia’s first year as Chief Minister, the conclusion of which coincided with the beginning of the session of the Assembly inaugurated by the Governor, has been one of much of his own promises and many of the people’s immediate expectations being fulfilled in a fair measure within the interest limitations under which he had to work. The relative facts of his performances and achievements would tell their own tale; the psychological transform-ation in the whole climate of public in general, too, even if severely slow, has nonetheless started creating an impact for whatever it is worth so far. The extremist overtures have been few and far between in recent weeks, and event he care elements in the agitation leadership has become increasingly less acceptable in public estimation in general. Undoubtedly Mr Saikia’s has been an eloquent testimony to a government that works and it has worked with conspicuous success.

If even in such a congenial climate, the half-a-dozen Tribunals appointed to deal with cases of Foreigners have failed so far to start work in right earnest, the fault can be said to lie with a degree of overzealousness to do too many things into short a time. The result is that in the case of these tribunals the members remain without any work for the most part, without being fed with cases of illegal foreigners on whose states they are to pronounce judgments. While this is so, more of such protective tribunal members lie in wait for being summoned to their duties. The fact is that at the earlier stages of detection of such suspected foreign nationals, whom the Police authorities are supposed to defect initially and then screened by the respective committees for the Tribunals to review, the picture appears to be one of a pathetic disinte-restedness – the very reverse of the government-of-the-day’s overzealousness on the one hand and the aggressive stance of the agitators. A balance between the two extremes might well serve to put a stop to more cases of such exercise in putting the cart before the horse. A go-slow attitude may be more helpful in producing better results.


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