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April issue

IS ALL WELL WITH CONTEMPORARY SIKKIM POLITICS?

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There could be several reasons behind this intense interest in politics. 

One - the post-merger Sikkimese identity is so inextricably linked to politics which has induced a kind of caution in the Sikkimese mind. The Sikkimese destiny in the Republic of India, to a large extent, has been shaped by the political events that transpired around the time of the merger. Today, we have the luxury of hindsight and say, ‘If our leaders had done this, we would have benefited this way or that move would have given us this advantage’ and so on. With such a political history behind us, for better or for worse, politics continues to rule the roost in our conscience. Moreover, the local political narratives across the board have inculcated into our conscience a notion that it is only politics that can protect our Sikkimese distinctiveness which is so vital to Sikkimese identity in the larger national context. This explains the conscious distancing of Sikkim from national parties.

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Water Woes

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With the rising of global water consumption, pressure is mounting on water. It is stated that demand for water has grown annually by 2.4 percent globally. So, our lone human habitable planet has already felt the pinch of water crisis and it has emerged a serious challenge.  According to reports by the United Nations, two-third of the world’s population will face acute water shortage by 2025, affecting lives and livelihoods of 1.8 billion people. The UN World Water Assessment Programme, 7 billion people in 60 countries may cope with water scarcity by 2050.  The much-talked-about climate change, which is instrumental in altering the weather pattern, can make the matter worse.

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A different poll fever in Tripura

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This is for the first time in the electoral history of Tripura when ruling party faced decadence and hit badly by an internal squabble among the leaders that led to massive violence during Loksabha elections in the state. The BJP and Congress fielded fresh candidates in West Tripura general seat and East Tripura tribal reserved constituency against the sitting MPs and veteran politicians. Most interestingly BJP’s ally in the government Indigenous Peoples’ Front of Tripura (IPFT) has put their independent candidates in Loksabha seats against BJP and others. The East Tripura candidate of IPFT is the President of the party and Revenue and Fishery Minister of Biplab Kumar Deb cabinet N C Debbarma and in West, Tripura sitting MLA of the party Brishketu Debbaram becomes a candidate. The BJP fielded their most aspirant female leader and party general secretary Pratima Bhowmik from West Tripura and a school teacher and greenhorn in politics Rebati Tripura.

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POLITICS, POLITY & POLICIES

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Since its attainment of full fledged statehood, Arunachal Pradesh is all set to go to polls for the first time with a non Congress ruling government in the state. The state will have simultaneous polls for both the assembly and parliament in the first phase on 11 April. While the electorates will elect the sixty legislators to the seventh legislative assembly, for parliament it will be for only two members. Apart from the two main national parties and the state's lone regional party People's Party of Arunachal, this election has witnessed the entrance of the National People's Party for one, which of late have been hitting the right notes, while the others include the Janata Dal (Secular), Janata Dal (United), the All India Party and All India Forward Block. The Nationalist People's Party and Trinamool Congress which had put up candidates in the 2014 elections have drawn a blank this time around.

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The Silent Invasion

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Though this is an old thing continuing since decades, the infiltrators now have become so emboldened that they have started setting up their own villages and often oust local people by force from there. The recent development of the migrants setting up 16 villages at Lunglei district in South Mizoram has alerted both the state government and the Centre.  

Of the nine villages, four are in Aizawl district followed by three in Champhai and two in Mamit. The Mizo Students’ Union (MSU), has asked the state government to raze it within this month. The gravity of this issue of creating villages by Bangladeshi infiltrators can be gauged from the fact that the Legislative Assembly of Mizoram was told that there exists 25 illegal villages across the state.

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