Once known as a hotbed of corruption and a state to mint money, now the state of Arunachal Pradesh is slowly and steadily moving towards good governance and an example of a corruption free state.
The seeds for this change were sown by the young and dynamic chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Pema Khandu in his first term, when he assumed charge of the state after much political turmoil and has now started to make important reforms in the state.
Often seen in different avatars—including taking long trips on motorbikes for inspection of roads and government facilities—offices, school buildings in remote areas, no one would have thought when he initially took over as the chief minister, that within few years, this young chief minister will become a charismatic, no-nonsense, reformative political icon, which the state desperately needed.
The state, though has received attention from every central government, being a border state with China—however, the state always lacked to build infrastructure required in critical areas.
On this issue, the young chief minister took potshots at the former governments in the state, and blamed the Congress party and the Congress governments of the past and even said that they are largely responsible for the deep rooted corruption network in the state.
In a recent media interaction, the suave and charismatic Khandu said that the present BJP led government in the state of Arunachal Pradesh practices the policy of zero corruption at any level and across the state, and the government is already on the job to weed out corruption. He had further stated that his government will not spare anybody found indulging in any form of unlawful activities. He expressed that law will take its own course to punish if anyone is involved in any corrupt activities. The government officials who are found guilty or engaged in illegal activities, including accepting or demanding bribes as a percentage from contractors will be held accountable. Moreover, corrupt officials will be made to retire under 56(j) of CCS rule.
What sounded for everyone to be a publicity stunt of warning turned out to be a merciless crackdown on corruption across the state, with the young chief minister even issuing a warning that—no corrupt will be spared in his state.
Khandu started taking action against corrupt officials in his government, and he has also said that these crackdowns will be further intensified.
Since taking over as the chief minister in his term post May 2019, Khandu has crusaded against corruption, and has gone after contractors, business firms, apart from corrupt bureaucrats.
Khandu’s endorsement by the people and the electorate in the state could be understood from his re-election and also the BJP winning both the Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 Lok Sabha election.
“Khandu understands the pulse of the people very well and he is a very keen observer who looks at everything very minutely and never takes half baked steps and decisions,” said a senior official of Arunachal Pradesh presently posted at the state secretariat.
A senior BJP functionary who oversees the North East region said that the BJP leadership has found in Pema Khandu an ideal face to represent the state at Delhi and also internationally.
“The state of Arunachal Pradesh is important for the entire North East region and also the entire country as a whole for several reasons—in terms of trade, power, tourism and natural resources, and besides that, it is located in a very strategic location bordering China. For these purposes, the Central leadership at Delhi and both the government and party level, was looking for a face on which it could bank upon, and Khandu has appeared to be the fittest person from all angles,” said the functionary.
The BJP functionary also said that the state has a chief minister who is rooted in the state and knows the issues there, and also knows how to take care of the problems.
“He is passive aggressive in his strategies and knows how to solve a problem by being aggressive, and at the same time being passive in action. For this, since taking over as chief minister amidst a major political turmoil in the state, Khandu has not faced much dissidence from his political or ministerial colleagues. For this passive aggressive will be the right description for him,” said the BJP functionary.
The functionary also said that being young and educated, he knows the requirements and aspirations of the youths who form a major portion of the total population in the state.