Hopefully, after all the euphoria, the new BJP Government of Uttarakhand will get down to the serious business of governance. To begin with, proceedings in the assembly need to be conducted with the required purpose. Along with the government, the opposition also has to focus on taking the state forward, instead of trying to score brownie points for mere public consumption. This means that every MLA has not just to be well-informed about what is happening in his or her constituency, but also have an idea of how this syncs with the development model. It must be noted that, in the previous assembly, there was a considerable lack of meaningful debate – mostly because the legislators seemed to lack the necessary ability. Hopefully, this time around they will do much better.
It is only natural that the Governor’s address at the start of the session on Tuesday contained mention of what has been achieved and is underway, because the BJP has been re-elected to power. So, even before it charts a path for the future, it has to focus on continuity and consolidation of what has already been done. It would be reasonable to give Chief Minister PS Dhami some time to get out of election mode, but momentum does need to be built up in the present trying times.
Even though the public has mostly come out of the pandemic mindset, with business returning and tourists flocking to the state, the fact remains that it will take effort and planning to emerge from the damage done to the economy. At the same time, the government needs to be on its guard to ensure any return of Covid-19 doesn’t upset the apple cart. Innovative ways also need to be adopted to benefit from the transformation in the people’s priorities. The self-employment culture that the pandemic encouraged, as well as the developing ‘work from anywhere’ culture should be tapped into for the state’s benefit. Also important is a clear understanding in the state BJP unit of Prime Minister Modi’s development model. Instead of just looking for ‘funding’ from the Centre, it would be wise to be part of the change being sought to be introduced. This includes the concept of minimum government and maximum governance. The economic and social forces have to be channelised to benefit from the inherent momentum, rather than disrupted by individuals’ quirks and fancies. Making Uttarakhand a model state will not be so difficult if the right approach is adopted.