With the nearing of assembly elections in Assam, the cacophony is increasingly becoming unbearable and it has crossed all the limits of civility. It seems the old narratives are not working out. May be ordinary people have also seen through their designs. So now they need a new ploy to mislead people albeit the objectives are the same.

To divide people into religious lines, gather votes and return to power. But what happened to their promises which they made before coming to power. The dredging of Brahmaputra, making highways on both the banks of Brahmaputra, twine tower trade centre in  Guwahati, a bridge connecting Majuli with Jorhat, to name a few.

It seems their shamelessness is also unbound. They aren’t tendering any apology for not fulfilling these election promises in the last four years. But they are enacting the facades of making these promises anew. They are again saying the same things. I am surprised how one can do that without a qualm of guilt and remorse!

The foundation of a bridge connecting Majuli with Jorhat was laid by Nitin Gadkari in 2016 and the DPR was to be completed by that year. They are repeating the same now and are saying that DPR will be completed by 2020. And the industry minister had the audacity to say the other day that the twine trade centre could not be completed because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now what do you say and how do you react to such things? Do you find any modicum of civility, and saneness in these? What a strange turn the politics has taken?

Joblessness is a burning issue. Agriculture is no longer productive. People are leaving their villages and coming to towns looking for jobs. But job creation is shrinking day by day because of the wrong policies of the government. There is hardly any new job in the private sector.  Periodically we come across some news where the education minister boldly declares the regularization of services of thousands of teachers.

Again, periodically we also come across news where thousands of teachers threaten the government with going on strike if their services are not regularized. This thing is going on in Assam– God knows how long. The frequency of this has made it untraceable.

Another bizarre thing is happening. The government periodically conducts some examinations to recruit educated youths in some departments. What happens is that in the conduct of these examinations always there happens some corruption.

Either the questions papers would be leaked or some odd things will happen. Some dubious characters allegedly close to the ruling party and the government would be involved in these scams for jobs and cores of rupees would exchange hands. The results of the examinations would be withheld.

Nobody would be offered any jobs. But in the process, some families would be led to penury who somehow arranged money for bribing ringmasters in the scandals.  And the whole thing will die down in course of time. Now, who benefits from these scams? We don’t know for sure. But we see a pattern here. And people allegedly see a link here with the powers that be.

The leakage of question papers in the S I recruitment examination is a case in hand. Who are the people involved in it? Two kinds of people are involved in it. Government officers and the ruling party office-bearers. If all the threads are investigated we shall know who are the big shots involved in it. But the present investigation will not unearth them.

As alleged if the complicity of top ruling party officials is involved in it, a state-controlled investigation will lead us nowhere. There is already rumour floating in the air that six ministers are involved in it. If it is the case how far will this investigation go? May be some drama will be enacted by implicating a section of the players to safeguard the real culprits. But once people forget the whole thing everybody will be reinstated and even compensated well for their troubles.

This is what has been happening. The tentacles of the state are far-reaching and powerful. The state can make and unmake things at its will and mercy. Under the circumstances, we can only expect some results if the police recruitment scam is handled by the court.

The situation is grim. There are no jobs for educated youths. And on top of that when there is some announcement of job or whenever the government holds some examination or call people for some interview, there are these irregularities, anomalies and corruption in them.

How does one feel that this government and its supporters once used to say that they will have zero tolerance for corruption? Actually, it is not about stopping corruption. It is about hiding corruption. It is all about managing things and pretending that everything is running smoothly. But we are still an open society to an extent. So people get to know about the underhand dealings from some sources.

At times what happens the accomplices in the crime also make things public when they don’t get a fair share of the booty. The problem is public memory is very short. People tend to forget things after a time. And the political class is so deft at handling such things and turning them to their advantage. Here the sentinels of good governance have an important role to play. They must try to bring these issues of misrule to the centre stage of public debates.

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Paresh Malakar

Paresh Malakar is a commentator based in Guwahati. He can be reached at: malakarparesh@gmail.com