Assam is the odd one out among the states that elected a government last year,the only one that re-elected the ruling regime. Tarun Gogoi has now completed two straight terms and,with a few hiccups,the first year of a third term.
Insurgency has hit an all-time low. The ULFA is split and weak,with most cadres now behind chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa,who is talking peace. Eight other rebel groups,including the DHD(J) or Black Widow,too are in talks mode while the NDFB has split with its founder chairman,who heads the anti-talk faction,is in jail.
What has emerged as a new headache is Maoists,with Union Home Minister P Chidambaram describing Assam as their new theatre. Gogoi has asked the Centre to include seven Assam districts in the integrated action plan launched in other states already in the grip of left-wing extremism.
There has been development all over,from law and order to economy. In fact Assam had never seen such development since Independence, Gogoi said. Insurgency is down… and growth in per capita income and GDP indicate the state has achieved sustained development.
That is not the complete picture. The power situation remains dismal,affecting other sectors. The state produces only 379.5MW of its requirement of 1,150MW. Some students gifted laptops by the government after shining in board exams had,in fact,wanted to return these because they have no access to electricity.
The year has been also marked by a renewed agitaton against dams on tributaries of the Brahmaputra (in Arunachal Pradesh).
Unemployment remains an issue,with people heavily depending on the government to create jobs in the absence of major investments. On Saturday,the government distributed appointment letters to 26,000 schoolteachers,the first time such a large number of jobs were created in one shot,even as the total number of jobless soared beyond 18 lakh.
The year has also seen a supposed war of succession. Gogoi,now 74,had three heart surgeries in 2010,and though he claims he isnt thinking of retiring,a younger ministers declaration that he dreams of becoming CM caused a flutter. Rumours about the AICC considering Gogoi for Vice President added fuel to that till he said he would never want to occupy that office.
Gogoi has ensured his son Gaurav made a formal entry into politics. He has also made it clear that if ministers have to dream,let them dream about serving the people first.