The BJP with its eye on the upcoming Assam state assembly elections has been vigorously campaigning across the state.
Assam health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has taken the lead in these campaigning activities, always on the go, whether on foot or on a bicycle to garner votes for his party.
In fact, the minister who can boast of a long fan following, has become the face of the BJP campaigns in the state.
Travelling through the length and breadth of the state, meeting innumerable supporters and party workers to strengthen the party’s base is something that the minister manages well.
Not just the state assembly elections, he has also been campaigning for the Bodoland Territorial Council and Tiwa Autonomous Council elections too.
The charisma that the man has among his followers pales other political leaders, even his colleagues in the state cabinet, who too are campaigning for the polls.
Nevertheless, Sarma, who holds some of the most important portfolios in the Assam cabinet, should also concentrate on his departments as being too engaged in campaigning activities can lead to underperformance of his departments.
He being the health minister, the role he plays in tackling the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic is of utmost importance.
The incidence of Covid-19 may have gone down in Assam as the state government has been repeatedly claiming, but new cases are still being recorded and people are still succumbing to the disease.
Now with variant strains of the novel coronavirus emerging and creating havoc in countries, forcing them to go on a lockdown mode, the Assam health department should be equally on its alert.
The variant strains have been found to be almost 70 per cent more transmissible and increase the severity of the infection in patients.
The health department has also closed down many Covid-19 testing centres across the state, which does not bode well considering the second surge in infections in several countries of the world at present.
Considering all these factors, the health minister should accord equal if not more, importance to the health sector in the state.
The minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, has been announcing several schemes to ahead of the state assembly elections.
It also rests on the minister to ensure that the earlier schemes that have been announced by his department are implemented effectively to facilitate development in the state.
The public today is aware of issues and does not take political parties or leaders at face value; the young generation, in particular, will cast their precious vote only after due deliberation on whether the leaders they had voted to power have delivered on their promises or not.
Hence, leaders of the ruling BJP government will have to realize that campaigning vigorously and distributing freebies alone will not win valuable votes unless their actions match their words of br8inging about a positive change in the state.
The finance department had recently announced the Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Empowerment Yojana (SVAYEM) to provide financial assistance to 2 lakhs youths so that they can engage in income-generating activities.
What about the lakhs of other unemployed youths in the state? What about the thousands of individuals who had returned home after losing their jobs due to the financial crisis brought in by the Covid-19 pandemic?
The problem of unemployment cannot be addressed solely by introducing a few schemes; the finance minister will have to address this problem in totality by taking into account the educated unemployed youths as well as unskilled workers who have lost their jobs.
It is also the education minister’s responsibility to make permanent the jobs of thousands of teachers who are currently working on a contractual basis in numerous government schools in the state.
No doubt the vigorous campaigning has made many workers and supporters of other political parties switch over to the BJP, but it remains to be seen whether people vote back the present state government to power in the upcoming state assembly elections.