Gangtok: In the run-up to assembly elections in Sikkim, EastMojo editor-in-chief Karma Paljor caught up with Aditya Golay, son of opposition leader and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) president PS Golay. Aditya is contesting from their home constituency Soreng-Chakung.
Excerpts from the interview:
Karma Paljor: I hear you’re 28?
Aditya Golay: Yes.
KP: You’re one of the youngest leaders, and you studied from Delhi University?
AG: Yes, Delhi, in Hindu College,
KP: So how has the experience been? Were you always connected with the people, connected to your village, to your ground here?
AG: When I was small, I was studying in Gangtok Tashi Namgyal Academy, and later on St Joseph’s Darjeeling and thereafter I went to Delhi to do my BA and after that I came back and was always there for my party.
KP: So were you always connected to the people on the ground here?
AG: I believe that I was always connected to the people, through my father I was always getting to know about the people. I was meeting them on an everyday basis so I was connected to them in that way.
KP: So what is the main need for you this time? I mean you’re really young, some people say you could have waited for some time. What is the drive for you to say this time ‘Yes I’ll fight and I can win’?
AG: My party president called me and told me to contest because the people from Soreng wanted me to come and fight for the party.
KP: So what made you decide this time that you’re ready at the young age, you’re ready to fight the election?
AG: Firstly, I would like to thank the party president for giving me this opportunity in such a small age. It is a big task for me this time but I think the people always loved me and supported me for this cause. And I always wanted to do this for the party and the people.
KP: I saw you, we went around to some of the houses where you met a lot of people, so what’s the kind of reaction you’re getting and how is the whole experience of reaching out and going one by one to each house?
AG: First of all, the people are kind of shocked because I am so small and most of them they just give me blessings. The experience has been very good. Reaching out to each and every house and asking them to vote for us and telling them why we need change, why we need to change the system, because it is so corrupted, that is very good. The experience has been very heart-touching. Because I can see the reality, the problems they are facing. Because these last 25 years, the government is saying that there have been development in the state, there have been large-scale organic farming but in reality it is not like that.
KP: So you’re saying that the reality on the ground is different? Like one, the current government has gone around the world saying that there have been large scale organic farming in the state, it is a favourite hub for tourism, they have gone around saying that the people are so prosperous and happy and that is the message that has gone to across the world. That propaganda that is being spread across by the government, what do you have to say on that?
AG: The government should first visit the houses of the poor people, visit the ground zero level and work for them. Because the reality is very far from the truth. So, whatever they are propagating saying all about development, that’s not the case here in West Sikkim.
KP: Do you think they have solved the problem of unemployment? Do you think they have solved the problem of education? Do you think they have solved the problem of drinking water in villages? What is the reality?
AG: I don’t think so. Because the drinking water in Thorpu, in Sombaria and in Soreng, its s big problem there. There is no drinking water, no provisions for bathrooms and even no ‘pucca’ houses there.
KP: But there were programmes launched by the government, by the central government to provide Housing for All? So what happened to all these programmes?
AG: I don’t think they have been implemented very well.
KP: So you go to the ground and you see these programmes not being implemented, what do the people say to you? You have quite a large number of supporters, you have been meeting people, taking with them. What are the people telling you?
AG: The people are in for a change this time. Because they have given 25 years to the present government, put them in power thinking they would solve their problems but that’s not the case. Even after 25 years they are still facing the same problems.
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KP: 25 years is a long time. Now, as far as your father is concerned, it’s a huge shadow. He is a big leader, one of the top opposition leaders of Sikkim. And there’s a case against him, the corruption case, he was convicted and unfortunately he can’t fight. Do you feel there is a load on your shoulders because of his absence in the party?
AG: Obviously the pressure is always there but I feel that I could overcome the pressure and work for the party and the people if given the opportunity.
KP: What is the one thing in Aditya Golay that lets you fight this pressure and lets you connect with the people?
AG: The biggest inspiration is my father because I have seen him from a very young age working for the people and doing all the hard work. So he is my biggest inspiration and my biggest support.
KP: One thing that is being said by a lot of people that the core workers of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha did not move through these five years. Last time you won like nine to 10 seats which is a good number but you never lost your supporters, they were always there. What is that magic of the Sikkim Krantikari Morcha that keeps the core file of people alive?
AG: I feel that our Krantikari Morcha workers are very passionate, they are really for in a change this time. They are very good and hardworking and they have come a long way and this time in 2019 elections the day is coming and I think they should be ready for it.
KP: So what it is about, is it about only loyalty or they have belief in the values of the party?
AG: I think it is the loyalty as well as the values. They are looking for a change, for a ‘parivartan’. They have also been suffering with the people and from 25 years they just wanted to change the government.
KP: Is Sikkim Krantikari Morcha a movement of the people or a movement of a few leaders who are very strong?
AG: It is the movement of the people because they have been supporting us even in difficult times. It is only because of the people that we are here right now and it is only because of their support that I am here standing out as their candidate.
KP: A few questions on development now, so once you are elected what is the main first thing and few other things that you are going to do for the people of your constituency?
AG: First of all, I don’t want to make any big promises. I want to go from ground zero and I want to work on few very basic needs of this constituency. One of them is water which is the most important problem here faced by the people of this constituency and there is no proper provision for drinking water. And secondly, hospitals because there is no proper PHC’s here. There is one hospital in Soreng which is very ill equipped I say.
KP: So you want to solve the basic issues here?
AG: Yes, basic issues like road connectivity issues.
KP: The roads that I see in this part is fairly good, so the health issues need to be solved. There have been certain concerns, in fact, there was a ‘dharna’ months ago some of the youths went to Gangtok. Healthcare is one issue, water is one issue. Apart from that, is there anything that you feel closely from your heart. As you are a youth leader, what do you want to do for the youth here?
AG: This morning I was visiting a village very close to my place called Khupchi. There we went to a place and there was no electricity. So when I asked them the reason for this condition, they said they have been giving applications to the department but the department don’t do anything. The people there mostly blame the Panchayat.
KP: What do your friends tell you? You are 28 and your friends are in their early careers. Have they been calling you and wishing you?
AG: Yes, my friends have been calling me and wishing me to work hard and for success.