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“Sikkim is in the crossroads and needs reform”: Ganesh Rai on 3 years of SKM

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  • While the government busies itself in celebration, what is truly needed is for the people to reflect on whether this government has fulfilled even its own promises let alone the aspirations of the people. As the Panchayat elections draws closer, the need for reflection and necessary action is more urgent and necessary.

“On the occasion of completion of 3 years of formation of government by SKM Party, we extend our warm congratulations to the party and the Hon’ble CM Shri P.S. Golay” – Ganesh Rai, Reforms Call

A seasoned political leader who has been a member of the State Legislative Assembly for the last 24 odd years made a clarion call in 2013 and vowed to bring about “Pariwartan” in the state. Slowly this call for pariwartan was heeded to by the people as many started joining his group and come the elections in 2014, the people of Sikkim entrusted this party and its leaders with win in 10 Assembly constituencies out of the 32 in the state and was able to get 40% of the total vote cast during the elections.

This was no small feat for a party that was fighting its first election esp. given the fact that prior to this the SDF had been able to bag all 32 seats in the assembly. But in no time this faith of people was completely betrayed by the MLAs of the Party who switched sides. Some blamed a lack of leadership in the SKM party which led to the defections leaving those who voted for the party disillusioned.

As another round of elections approached in 2019 the SKM party contested the elections and it became a keen contest and went on to win the Assembly elections with 17 seats, which was exactly the number needed to form a government. The time for calling for Pariwartan was now over and the time for action was here. The party had the last 5 years from 2014 to 2019 to prepare and plan on how this pariwartan was to be ushered in the state.

It had now been presented with an opportunity to bring in this change and make Sikkim better. But as the government reached its milestone of 100 days it failed to deliver on the promises it had made on the manifesto and started to back track on those very promises. Instead, what did happen was that the numbers of MLAs under the party rose to 19.

The hope that people had was that once voted to power there would be major shift in the state, but alas those hopes were dashed hard. Instead, what continued was the same old policies, similar style of functioning and an alienated leadership. In the ensuing 3 years, what has happened is our lands have been handed over to private companies, prime land in the capital being handed over to private entities, violence showing its ugly face time and again against those who so much as utter any critical observation on the functioning of the state.

What people had hoped for was reformative policies and execution but what it got instead was Fish Melas in a mountain state, State Day celebrations at Delhi, vehicles and other such incentives being handed out to the near and dear ones of the party, a Mini- Goa too seems to be on the cards.

That is not all, what has also been told is that the government shall now be talent hunt shows and doling out large sums of money which could surely be better utilised esp. when the state is adding substantially to its borrowings with no clear plan on how it envisages to repay these loans.

Sikkim sought for a change in 2019 and 3 years on from that it is time to reflect how far have we as a state travelled on the path of change that had been promised. The government believes that the occasion calls for a celebration, maybe they are right for they became the rulers of this state on this day in 2019 but have they done enough for the people to be able to celebrate is perhaps the real question that begs to be asked.

While the government busies itself in celebration, what is truly needed is for the people to reflect on whether this government has fulfilled even its own promises let alone the aspirations of the people. As the Panchayat elections draws closer, the need for reflection and necessary action is more urgent and necessary.

Sikkim is in the crossroads and needs reform in financial planning and management, education, health- care, road conditions, employment for its younger generations, law and order and many more other areas. Hence, it is time for more meticulous planning and an efficient execution and not for celebration for we are far from being a safe and just society and until we reach there, it is action that is required not celebrations.  

Ganesh Rai:
Reforms Call, Sikkim.
Melli, South Sikkim.

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SC Desk

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