Former bureaucrat LN Tamuly feels that for many, politics has now become the safest refuge from courts strictly applying the law of the land; politics is also the golden avenue for persol aggrandisement, of amassing wealth beyond the comprehension of common people. While he is disturbed at the growing number of crorepatis in electoral fray, Tamuly feels the regiol parties, after having forged ties with tiol parties, are fast losing their relevance. In an interview with The Sentinel, Tamuly speaks out on a number of issues plaguing today’s politics.
Q. How do you view the recent defections of politicians in the State?
Tamuly: Political defection means a conscious desertion or abandonment of a party along with its policies, principles and ideology in order to espouse another without consent or legal justification. If this definition is either accepted or believed to have contained some kind of moral values, the recent political defections in Assam and some neighbouring states in the Northeast could be condemned as immoral, unethical and illegal. Politics in the 21st century, more particularly in Assam, has been shamefully degraded by the boundless greed of politicians ever on the lookout for opportunities to loot the public coffers. I do not think anyone among these political defectors has done so for the benefit of the people and society; rather, I firmly believe they have switched sides to satisfy persol greed or to remain unscathed from the legal consequences of various crimes they have committed during their political career. Politics has now become the safest refuge from the long arm of the courts. No clash or conflict of policy, principle or ideology appears to have either compelled or impelled a single politician to go for political defection. An assessment of winbility of a political party works as the driving force to switch over to its side – a fact undoubtedly condemble.
Q. To resolve key problems of the State, what kind of a party should the people vote for?
Tamuly: Since the state units of tiol political parties are bound to bow their heads and still their hearts and consciences in case of decisions at the top and dictates of all-India leadership, problems plaguing the State will continue to be casual addressed, leave alone resolution. The silent aggression of foreign tiols, awarding them citizenship indiscrimitely, the grave threats posed by the Lower Subansiri project dam, the slow but sure replacement of the vercular education system in Assam, whereby the very identity of the Assamese as a distinct people has been made to vanish from the face of the Earth — shall remain as it were without redressal. What I have noticed elsewhere in India is that only the powerful regiol parties have taken the initiatives, leading their societies to suitably address their own problems. But after the regiol parties started tying the knot with tiol parties, regiol issues appear to have been sacrificed — the logical expectations and aspirations of the local people have been cruelly belied and betrayed. Regiol parties have lost their relevance in the political battle for safety and betterment of their own.
Q. In the last 15 years, how do you rate the pace of development in Assam?
Tamuly: If a female child is intentiolly kept in starving or semi-starving condition continuously for 15 years, even then certain physical signs of growth will be visible on her body – she will even attain puberty in due course. But if someone claims credit for her growth, like the present Congress government is doing for Assam, it certainly deserves to be condemned. In agriculture, only 3.77% of land is irrigated in Assam against 97% of Punjab and 93% of Harya. In industry, more than 30,000 small and medium scale industries have disappeared. Though several crore rupees have been spent in the last few years in distributing tablets, laptops and desktops among successful students and water pumps among cultivators, more than 63% households in Assam still remain without electricity. So, you can yourself determine the rate of development in Assam.
Q. According to you, are there any efficient candidate contesting this election?
Tamuly: When an election to the State Assembly usually costs Rs 1-3 crores, how many efficient and honest candidates can one expect to find in the fray? Seats have been auctioned off to crimils who have amassed immense wealth within the shortest possible times. Under the cover of or with the protection of the so-called theory of winbility of a candidate in the costly electoral battle, only the crimils figure in the consideration of parties. If a person can muster several hundred crores of rupees, he is recognized as ‘efficient’ in the political circle. Out of 539 contesting candidates for 65 seats in the first phase, 36 Congress, 23 BJP, 7 AGP, 2 BPF, 2 NCP and 23 Independent candidates are crorepatis. When 67 % of the State’s population are found to be fed under the Food Security Scheme of the Central government, these crorepatis would be elected by starving voters to rule (or misrule) them for five years. It sigls that the crimilization of Indian politics is speeding up.