EDITORIAL

Waiting for a good leader

There is no denying the fact that the north-eastern region is in need of a good leader who can not only take the real issues affecting this area to the Centre but also show the right path to the people in general and the younger generation in particular. The people in general across the region have a feeling that the representatives they have been sending to Parliament every five years have not been able to deliver. Most of them have remained invisible, unable to raise their voice at the right moment, thus failing to make their presence felt. Such has been the state of affairs that the outgoing government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not have even one minister of the cabinet rank. The region however was lucky it had sent one young representative, who, despite remaining a Minister of State, could not only become the most likeable political face person across the region, but has also emerged as the most recognizable political face from the Northeast across the country. He is educated, smart, possesses very good communication skills, has a positive attitude, considers the entire Northeast his home, and works hard to maintain his presence at the national level. In sharp contrast, the other Minister of State from the region is not even properly visible in his own home State and has failed to make any impression despite being in public life and Parliament for donkeys’ years.
Many people across the region remember with pride the presence of three leaders from the Northeast who had made very significant presence at the national level, both inside the Parliament as well as outside. They were Hem Barua – who belonged to the 1950s and 1960s; Dinesh Goswami – who belonged to the 1970s and 1980s; and Purno A Sangma – whose presence was felt through the 1980s till a few years back. Looking closely at them one finds that these three leaders had certain exceptional qualities that had made them shine at the national level. All three had a basic honesty and integrity, were extremely self-confident, had commitment and passion, could inspire others, were good communicators, had very good decision-making abilities, believed in delegation and empowerment, held accountability as inseparable from their public lives, were creative and innovative, could develop empathy with the people of the entire region, and always walked the extra mile.
These three apart, the region has also seen some other leaders who had extraordinary qualities that kept them close to the people. Mention must be made of Gopinath Bardoloi, Captain Williamson Sangma, Brigadier T Sailo, Rishang Keishing, Hokishe Sema and Manik Sarkar – all of whom were definitely different from others in that they understood the pulse of the people. They understood the aspirations and dreams of the people, they understood the problems faced by the masses, they had their ear to the ground and heard the heartbeat of the younger generation, they worked hard to keep themselves abreast of the socio-political and economic developments across the country and around the world. Most important, they kept in touch with the cross-section of people cutting across party lines, and had the eagerness to learn. They did not remain aloof from the masses. They brought new ideas to the people. They had the courage to say No to those who were anti-development and believed in separatist activities. Above all, they did not live inside cocoons or wells, but believed in swimming in the wide seas. With Lok Sabha election round the corner, the people of the northeastern region – and more particularly the younger generation – should definitely look for people with the above qualities who would represent them in the Parliament. Those among the existing team of people’s representatives who have been able to display some amount of the above-mentioned qualities will definitely have an edge over the others. After all, the people of the Northeast also want better quality of life, which only better representatives in the highest decision-making forum of the country can help provide.