BJP-led Assam state in India criticized for failed promises ahead of elections

Teachers in Assam wearing traditional Assamese dress. Image via Flickr by Michael Foley. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Teachers in Assam wearing traditional Assamese dress. Image via Flickr by Michael Foley. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The government of India's Assam state, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is facing public criticism online after it announced it will create 55,000 public jobs in the next six months.

While unemployment has long been a vital concern in rural Assam, past scandals in public recruitment have driven citizens to doubt authorities will fulfil that promise, while others wonder whether the measure isn't just a gimmick ahead of the state assembly's elections due on April 2021.

The decision on the 55,000 jobs was announced on Twitter by the former General Secretary of the Assam Pradesh branch of the BJP, Mriganka Barman:

The BJP came to power in 2016 in Assam on promises of creating jobs after 15 years of Indian National Congress (INC) rule failed to make progress on that front in Assam State.

Four years later, the BJP is facing shortcomings of its own, especially in its commitment to public service expansion.

For example, in January, the government announced it would recruit over 15,000 teachers across the state over the course of six months. By the end of August, the government had only appointed 5,000.

The worst disappointment with the BJP is probably related to recruitment to the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC). Jobs in this government body are considered very prestigious in Assam; hundreds of thousands of students prepare for its regular selection exams.

However, ASPC recruitment has long suffered from a lack of transparency and allegations of corruption. Its former chairman, Rakesh Paul, was arrested in 2016 after a court found he received bribes from certain candidates in exchange for providing them with separate rooms during the examination.

Paul was close to former Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Although no legal action was taken against Gogoi, the widely publicized scandal tarnished the image of the INC in the state.

During the 2016 elections, the BJP promised to clean up the ASPC from dishonest officers, but it wasn't long until it also faced accusations of corruption.

For example, when recruiting new staff for the Panchyat and Rural Development in 2017, the BJP faced public criticism after answers were leaked on social media before exam day and candidates were caught using mobile phones in the exam hall. While Assam police opened an investigation into the irregularities, appointments were made anyway.

Twitter user from Assam Tulesh Doley urged to the prime minister:

Local media also reported on the leaking of exam papers before a recruitment exam by Assam Power Distribution Company Limited took place in 2019. Police are investigating the incident.

Also in 2019, the Assam government promised to appoint more 1,600 posts in the newly-established Foreigners Tribunals, courts where suspected foreigner citizens are summoned to prove their Indian citizenship. Exams were held and a list of qualified candidates was released, but the government hasn't appointed them yet.

General Secretary of All Assam Students’ Union Assam Lurinjyoti Gogoi tweeted:

The announcement of the 55,000 jobs was met with criticism online. The National Student's Association of India (Assam branch) tweeted:

Gargee Kashyap from the city of Guwahati tweeted:

Twitter user Jan Kishore Gogoi from the city of Sivsagar said:

Twitter user Kishan Nath also joined in:

Someone who says has sat the exam to the Foreigner Tribunals’ said:

1 comment

  • Sunil

    India should not move on the wrong path designed by the group of power hungry countries. Instead, India and Pakistan must solve their disputes honestly and peacefully without searches for excuses. Both countries must give rights to suffering Kashmiris, and not to destroy the Kashmiri nation. Kashmiris have suffered a lot and must be allowed to live freely and honourably. Both India and Pakistan must live peacefully and prosper without falling prey to outside powers, who will never like to see that happen.
    I want to see roads from Bangladesh, Nepal through India and Pakistan to Afghanistan, Iran and further.
    I am sorry to see the present government of India is moving on aggressive path, making wrong use of power, crushing Kashmiris. Instead of solving their problems , they are taking away all their rights in their motherland. I feel ashamed. Yesterday, I saw police pushing opposition leader Rahul Gandhi. This is dictatorship and Gunda Raj. Now is the time that we peace and justice loving Indians must unite and stand against these wrong policies. In India dictatorship is not accepted.

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