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Gairsain Dilemma


There is the usual debate on the status of Gairsain (Bhararisain) at the start of every Assembly Session. It is strange that after having invested so much effort and money on building infrastructure for the state legislature there, there is still no clarity on how it is to be used. Instead, sessions held in Gairsain guarantee one thing to the legislators – a quick end to proceedings. It seems representatives of the hill state have gone soft and cannot endure living in less than five-star comfort.

It would have been safe to assume that the announcement on making Gairsain the Summer Capital would have provided direction to how things would happen, but this has not been evident, so far. There are obvious difficulties in shifting the government machinery for the period required. In the old days, such ‘darbar’ transfers had the incentive of getting away from the summer heat, but air-conditioned offices of today take that away. So, it is largely a symbolic move designed to assuage the feelings of the population that still lives in the higher reaches. The declining representation of this region in the legislature has also ensured that the political pressure in this regard has lessened. Those political forces that still demand that Gairsain be made the permanent capital have reduced in number and do not have an impact at election time.

So, all the grand statements made from time to time with regard to Gairsain are basically political hypocrisy. Nobody has had the courage to state the facts. The Summer Capital announcement was the most pragmatic one but that concept too has been betrayed with the lack of implementation. All that is left is the present tokenism. Perhaps, work should be put into identifying the actual difference this shift would make to governance. Would working from Gairsain provide a different perspective? Would it remind legislators of grassroots issues related to the hills? Or, is it that there is not much legislative work, anyway, that would justify a longer stay in Gairsain? Is the Executive making the Legislature less relevant? Should not the MLAs be concerned? Perhaps the problem is much deeper than just the inconvenience of living in the hills. Time will tell. Till then, the farce will continue.