In India, a lot of things wait to happen till election. Opening of long-completed projects and laying of foundation stones without financial feasibility have long been taken for granted. Everyone, right from Mukul Sangma to Narendra Modi take resort to this obvious political tool to win elections. As public memory is short, they want to keep a lot of things to be launched or announced ahead of the elections. The recent meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Shillong was nothing but aimed at the assembly elections to be held in February. As the PM’s visit has to be “official”, his office decided on the long-delayed Shillong-Nongstoin-Tura road to be inaugurated by Modi. A major section of the road in East Khasi Hills is yet to be completed! In fact official sources confirmed getting a lot of calls from Delhi to find out any Central project fit to be launched by the PM. It was not the project for which the Prime Minister has come, but it was because of his visit that the yet-to-be-completed project was chosen to be inaugurated.
Meanwhile, political leaders on the ruling side are already in inauguration and foundation laying spree. The election may be announced anytime that will bring all such kinds of activities. A hospital at Mawphlang waited for 17 long years to be opened by chief minister Mukul Sangma just before the election. Could not it be inaugurated six months ago, or might be delayed six months further! Why is the perfect timing? Do anybody wonder? Or everyone knows the answer? It happens, people may think. This much benefit of doubt can be granted to politicians. Urban affairs minister Ronnie V Lyngdoh has launched a housing programme for poor people whereby houses would be provided new roofs and new houses to be constructed for beneficiaries. Chief minister has announced setting up of nine ‘community colleges’ including four new colleges. All the new colleges will be set up in Garo Hills, Mukul’s home region. It’s raining new projects and schemes in Meghalaya, all ahead of elections. Everyone welcomes these schemes, but launching of these could be evenly distributed throughout the five years. In that case, the government also remains accountable for executing the schemes. Once government changes, the new government tends to neglect such schemes and get busy devising new ones to claim credit. The NDA government did a lot of twisting to several schemes of the UPA government and renamed them, making them appear as new schemes. It’s time Indian public grew up and no more influenced by such electoral tactics. Politicos would correct themselves as well.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on Dec 23, 2017)