Sikkim is highly acclaimed for its creative and innovative governance under the 25 years of the Sikkim Democratic Front Party led by Pawan Chamling, the President, who is also India’s longest serving Chief Minister into his 25th year. In these 25 years, the Chamling-led government steered by the wisdom of governance has been able to eradicate extreme poverty, provide every family with all the basic needs, raise literacy levels to near 100 percent, provide almost universal health and much more. In fact, the State Government has won laurels for its Governance especially in relation to the Panchayati Raj system wherein the rural development has seen unprecedented improvement in all areas of human development indicators.
22nd January marked the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) party’s membership day, a day when new members were inducted into the party – young new cadre bringing in their fresh ideas, hopes, and aspirations for the future of their state. Awareness about SDF policies, programmes and achievements were given to the new members. The day also saw the renewal of promises made by the current members of SDF, once again reiterating their committing to the guiding philosophy and ideology of the party. The guiding principle of the party has always been to work for the people of Sikkim and ensuring democracy, equality and prosperity of all sections of the society.
Sikkim under Pawan Chamling-led SDF government has been a truly transformative state. These have been possible only because of the hard work of the party members and their commitment to a better future for Sikkim. These are the people who have the experience of working for and with the people of Sikkim over a lifetime of sacrifice and purpose. To ensure that Sikkim continues on this transformative trajectory we need to ensure that the right party is in power. The objective is not to form the government by seducing people with flowery promises but to ensure full democratic rights are given to the people of Sikkim.
Case in point is the Freedom of Press. Unlike in New Delhi where we see many papers and TV channels totally appropriated by big business, the papers here are owned by people who care for ‘news’ as it happens and ‘views’ expressed in the interest of the people and our society. This must continue if we want to build a strong and vibrant Sikkimese society. After all, media is the fourth pillar of democracy.
At the same time, we need a need a vibrant civil society which is politically aware and engages actively with the government to hold those in power accountable. Fee and active civil societies are after all an indicator of a healthy participatory democracy.
This is the way forward for our state. The future is definitely bright.