New govts in Assam, WB, TN, Kerala complete 100 days: Here's what they achieved and what lies ahead
Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala and Sarbananda Sonowal in Assam rode to power on the promise of a corruption free government.
Hundred days have passed since four state governments assumed power after the May 2016 assembly elections. While Jayalalithaa scripted history in Tamil Nadu for being the first CM to be elected for a successive second term, Mamata Banerjee shocked allies and opponents alike by coming back in power with a resounding victory. Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala and Sarbananda Sonowal in Assam on the other hand, rode to power on the promise of a corruption free government. Here is a look at how are these nascent governments are doing after 100 days in power.
Breaking a decades-old jinx, as AIADMK won a successive term in the assembly elections, J Jayalalithaa was sworn in for the sixth time as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 23 May. Hundred days since then, just like the other three states that went to polls in May, the government listed out its achievements to gain brownie points with the people. However, what marked out the southern Indian state from Assam, West Bengal and Kerala, were the exuberant government ads.
As AIADMK, led by Jayalalithaa, completed 100 days in office on Friday, Tamil Nadu Assembly was decked up with choicest flowers of different hues and varieties to mark the occasion.
The entire House, including visitors' gallery, was decorated with flowers. Portraits of leaders including Mahatma Gandhi, former chief ministers Rajaji, Kamaraj, C N Annadurai and saint poet Thiruvalluvar were adorned with life-size garlands.
Exuberant full-page newspaper ads, typical of the cult politics that's prevalent in the state, listing out Jayalalithaa government's key achievements were printed. Adverts featuring the chief minister, wearing a benign smile, greeted the citizens as they woke up on Friday morning.
On the occasion of completing 100 days in office, the government tried to woo the voters by announcing an increase in the maternity leaves granted to state government employees and sanctioning crores of rupees for development and upgradation of hospitals in the state, according to a report by Zee News.
Often lauded for its populist measures, the Jayalilthaa-led government also recounted its achievements such as reducing Tasmac shops, providing free electricity of 200-750 units to handloom and powerloom weavers, and other schemes like providing 4 to 8 grams of gold to girls at the time of their marriage, in its advertisements. The advertisements, according to Quint, also touts schemes like free bus passes given to 31.12 lakh school girls, extension of Chennai metro rail, and 100 units of free electricity promised to all households.
While battling a disproportionate asset case, the chief minister continued to unravel largely popular schemes. Recently, she flagged off 100 motorcycles and 250 bicycles for improved police patrolling in Chennai, stating that these new vehicles will help the police access narrow streets and congested places better. According to a report in The Indian Express, the state government also wrote off crop loans of nearly 17 laks farmers in the state.
Often targeted for its populist agenda, the government also marked an increase in the collection for state coffers, according to a PTI report. Commercial Tax revenues in Tamil Nadu rose by 6.55 percent to Rs 20,128.16 crore in the first four months of the ongoing fiscal compared to Rs 18,890 crore in the year-ago period.
The government boasted of some success in gaining investments for the state. Tamil Nadu has facilitated 56 non-MoU projects with investment commitments of Rs 11,282.52 crore till July through single window clearance. The policy note, quoting the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy, said between April 2011 and June 30, 2016, the state attracted investments of Rs 3.75 lakh crore, which include domestic and foreign investments in the pipeline, according to PTI.
No one has more reasons to celebrate 100 days in power than Mamta Banerjee. The occasion of marking 100 days in power was made sweeter for West Bengal chief minister as on Friday her party got enlisted as a national party.
Another victory came Mamata's way – just around the time – in the garb of the Singur verdict, which gave her party a moral high-ground over her political rivals.
"It was a landmark judgment. We will follow the order of the court line-by-line," she said. Hailing the Supreme Court judgement on Singur as "victory of the masses", the Trinamool Congress said those who had been involved in forcible land acquisition there should apologise to the people.
Meanwhile, Mamata has been persistently trying to re-brand the state's image as well. She is on a week-long visit to Rome and Germany to attend Mother Teresa's canonisation ceremony and meet potential investors to improve infrastructure and create jobs in the state. Besides this, the West Bengal state Assembly on Monday passed a resolution to change the name of the state from West Bengal to 'Bangla' in Bengali and 'Bengal' in English, stating that the name Bangla has a historical and cultural background. ""Whenever we go out of India or to some other state we are known as people from Bengal," Mamata said, justifying her decision to change the state's name. Also when CMs in several states are whipping up public sentiments towards liquor ban, Mamata went against the grain to allow clubs and hotels to serve liquor 365 days a year in her state and reduced the number of annual dry days to four and half instead of 12 — a move being hailed as "pragmatic" by the industry.
She has also taken a firm stand against the nationwide call for strike in a state that has been notorious for trade union protests and bandhs in the past. She warned of strongest possible action against "miscreants" who try to disrupt public life and will ensure compensation for damage to shops or vehicles. "There is no bandh in Bengal tomorrow. I appeal to the common people that Durga Puja is coming and on 5 September we have Teachers Day. So let's keep things moving. Let's take Bengal forward. A lot of damage has already been done," she said.
With his government completing 100 days in office, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan reached out to people through All India Radio, cautioning them against the threat posed by communal forces and drug mafia in the society.
Touching base on several important issues through PM Modi's Mann Ki Baat styled programme, Vijayan talked about communal harmony, the drug menace in the state and hygiene and waste management.
Claiming that the LDF government could bring in substantial changes in the last 100 days, Vijayan said they were following a "two-pronged" approach of stepping up measures for long-term development and taking immediate steps to redress grievances of the marginalised sections.
Setting up of Kerala Infrastructure Fund Board for mobilising resources and announcement of various debt relief measures for different sections in the society were a part of the two-pronged approach, he said in a statement.
Vijayan also listed disbursal of welfare pension to beneficiaries among some of his government's achievements after it was voted to power in May 2016 Assembly polls.
Lauding the chief minister's political and administrative achievement an article in BusinessLine calls him "loh purush" (Iron man). According to the article, a government ad commemorating 100 days in power, puts out its achievement with a subtle, no-frills slogan, “Now we have a government.” Another article in The Indian Express, comments on Vijayan's political acumen.
"Vijayan has the advantage of holding the party under his firm control... the CPM led by Vijayan had the final say on vital matters. Today, Vijayan faces no dissenting voice within," the article reads.
However, the so-called seemingly 'invincible' political leader admits that the path ahead is tough. The chief minister conceded that there was a resource crunch in the state. There is a plan to mobilise Rs 50,000 crore for taking up various infrastructure projects in the next five years, he said, adding that the funds would be mobilised through Kerala Infrastructure Fund Board. On the social sector, Vijayan said his government's main priority was to protect human rights, secularism and democracy.
On the welfare sector, Vijayan pointed out that the first step of his government was to hike the amount of all welfare pensions to Rs 1,000. The government also took steps to ensure that the beneficiaries received pension with arrears before the Onam festival, he said, adding that an amount of Rs 3,100 crore was going to reach the people by Onam.
Stating that steps were on for implementation of the Food Safety Act in the state, he said new ration cards would be distributed among the people in the next six months. Another "major achievement" of his government in the short period was opening the closed cashew factories, mainly in Kollam district, and thereby, ensuring jobs for nearly 18,000 workers, the Chief Minister said.
Meanwhile, adding another feather to the state government's cap, Kerala Tourism recently bagged six National Tourism awards for 2014-15 in the marketing category for states.
Battling insurgency from separatist groups and floods, the Sonowal government has completed its 100 days in power. Among its many challenges, the chief minister has decided to curb insurgency by urging Centre to seal Indo-Bangladesh border. Speaking on the occassion of his 100 days in power, Sonowal told reporters that his government is following a policy of "zero tolerance for corruption."
Hitting out at the erstwhile Congress government Sonowal said, "People's lives were crippled under corruption during the last government. Our thrust has been to give people relief from it. Our ministers are not only talking against corruption but are acting against this menace," he said adding, they are working to make the administrative system efficient and corruption-free so that its regains people's faith.
He also claimed that his government is working on controlling spiraling prices of food items, he said and asserting that the rates were lower in Assam than in Delhi. But all that said, with a regime marked by acute floods, terrorist attack in Kokrajhar, blasts in Tinsukia so early on in its rein, and the long standing issue of Nagas and Bodos, Sonowal will have a tough time ahead.
With inputs from PTI
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