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Conducting of public outreach

Assessment of how we are handling our democracy is a good way of acquainting oneself with the experiences we have gained over the years. Theoretically speaking, democracy is the will of the majority people. The question is whether the role of the people or the voters — to talk in technical terminology— ends with the casting of the vote and just standing as a silent onlooker on how the elected representatives behaves or do not behave particularly in matters that pertain to their constituencies.  An elected representative is to keep himself closely linked to the people of his constituency meaning that he has to be fully aware of each and every household in his constituency and how they are behaving with the issues that face them. It follows that an MLA or Minister after becoming the law maker has to be glued to his constituency and reach each and every household off that constituency. This is the practical meaning of democracy.
It is a matter of serious concern that our Ministers are getting distanced from the people. Perhaps they are under the wrong notion that once in the Secretariat, their job is only to turn files and papers and remain confined to whatever input the subordinates provide them with. The ease of officialdom makes them forget that they owe much more than what they promised the electorate during elections. Distancing themselves from the public in general and their constituencies in particular make them unwanted in the eyes of the Chief Minister who is the foremost in the matter of public reach. It has to be said that invariably the Chief Minister reminds the Ministers and senior bureaucrats that they should keep in regular touch with the masses of people in their respective constituencies and try to listen and understand the difficulties and problems of the people. She has expressed her dissatisfaction with the state of things as she feels them at present. Just visiting the constituency and interacting with the people is not enough. After all people bring to the representatives their grievances and difficulties. There is no record of whether the Minister concerned took any action to mitigate the difficulties of the people that have been brought to his notice. We very much appreciate the thinking of the Chief Minister that though the returning constituency is primary concern of the Minister yet in a democratic set up once an elected person is a Minister; he has to take care of all the people in all the three regions of the State. It will be unjust on the part of a Minister to think small and restricted to his constituency only. Ours is a hilly State and a very large number of people live in far off villages in the nooks and corners of the State. A Minister must make it a point to reach them notwithstanding the fact whether they belong to his constituency or not. For example a field visit by the Minister incharge of R&B will give him an idea about the road connectivity, whether there is or is not a dependable connectivity, whether repair work of the road is undertaken regularly and whether new connecting arteries are needed or not. In particular when the Ministers concerned are supposed to chair the District Development Board meetings they should be well acquainted with the ground situation in the district. When the season for election arrives, the Ministers and legislators one and all become very active and they are often seen roaming around in their respective constituencies. But once the elections are over and results have been announced, they quickly forget their constituencies and remain glued to power and confine themselves to the Secretariat building. This sounds hollow and in no way can be called a healthy stance on the part of the Ministers and legislators.

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