“It’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter.”
With the promise of transparent government and zero tolerance towards corruption, BJP-led NDA government came to power in India with Narendra Modi as the 15th Prime Minister on May 26, 2014. In the wake of BJP wave and Modi magic the protestations of former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi was sweep away and BJP-led government came to power in Assam too in 2016. The campaign in Assam assembly election done by political workhorse Himanta Biswa Sarma and its public face Sarbananda Sonowal has done magic for the BJP as unexpectedly. In Assam and at the Centre the BJP has some pretty catchy slogans like- “na khaunga na khane dunga”, “Swacch Bharat, Sabka Saath SabkaVikas” to quote only a few.
Sonowal took oath as chief minister on May 24, two years after Modi became the prime minister. But the common man on the street still needs to feel the benefits of reduced corruption. Linking PAN and Aadhar with Income Tax, GST, the famous or infamous (depending on which side of the fence you are) demonetisation to reduce black money and to hunt down corruption, has only disrupted the life of the man on the street. He has to pay bribe to get water and power connection. The officials from legal metrology department collaborates with unscrupulous traders to commit fraud on the poor consumers. Modi and Sonowal governments may be talking about corruption that is not being done brazenly as before. The commoners still do not get the weight of potatoes that he has paid for, he is still threatened on the street by cops and forced to cough up money. As of now, the commoners have to struggle with corruption in each sphere of life.
Will Sonowal government be able to change that? Is Modi has an ear for the suffering peoeple. The BJP has come to power on the plank of anti-corruption and transparency, but the man on the street still has to battle every inch of the way from the time he gets out of his home. The BJP is talking about transparency but the lack official transparency is a major factor contributing to the scope for corruption in government offices. The rules for getting a service are opaque. If one asks for the same from officials they are very much uncooperative, to say the least. They behave as though they are public masters, instead of public servants. The people living in Below Poverty Line (BPL) do not know about the procedure to obtain a Ration Card. They do not know how to get a voter ID and a power connection for BPL people. Power connection for BPL people is usually procured by those with political connections; needless to say they are well-off. BPL people are the worst victim of official corruption aided by unofficially appointed touts. They are helpless and makes ideal victim for corruption as they cannot complain. The Sonowal government should come up with measures to obliterate unseen everyday corruption so that the man on the street also feels it.