Gangtok, 29 Apr [IPR]: Chief Minister Pawan Chamling today surpassed the record of former West Bengal Chief Minister, Jyoti Basu, by becoming the longest serving Chief Minister of any Indian State.
To congratulate the CM for achieving the historic feat, hundreds of people gathered at his official residence here at Mintogang from early morning. Among those who called on the CM were the Speaker, Cabinet Ministers, MPs, MLAs, Mayor, Panchayat Adhyakshas and Upadhyakshas, Chief Secretary, senior officers of the State Government, SDF party functionaries, and people from all over the State.
The Chief Minister greeted everybody individually and accepted their best wishes.
Speaking to the media, Mr Chamling expressed his gratitude to his parents for having nurtured him and making him capable to consistently serve the people of Sikkim. He shared that he learnt the basic tenets of humility and service from his parents.
“By the time I was a youth, I had started believing that I have to live my life in the service of others,” he said.
“I therefore started participating in social work before entering active politics,” he informed, adding, “From the very beginning, my political ideology was based on inclusive development, equality, freedom, and right for all.”
He went on to share the journey of his political career from being a Panchayat President to becoming the longest serving Chief Minister of a State in the Indian Union. He shared that he and his party have never deviated from the promises and commitments made to the people from the very beginning.
“Our politics is not driven by personal ambition but by the agenda of the people. It is our commitment and endeavor to ensure that the people of Sikkim of all socio-economic strata are empowered and self reliant,” stated Mr Chamling.
“After serving the people of Sikkim for over 23 years, I am still energetic, positive and motivated to give my best. I don’t do politics for myself; I have no personal ambition. I am totally surrendered to serving the people. That is where I get my strength and motivation from,” stated the Chief Minister.
He thanked the people of Sikkim, the Central Government, media, friends and family for supporting him and his vision to transform Sikkim in to a model State.
“I feel I should use the Chief Minister’s post as a medium for development. Although a lot has been achieved over the years and I am quite a contended person, there is still so much I want to give to the people of Sikkim,” he stated.
He talked about the transformation of Sikkim in the last forty years and how it has become one of the most progressive States of the country. He reiterated that Sikkim spreads the message of peace and security to the world.
“The world is dealing with issues of violence and insecurity, and here we have a State surrounded by three international borders and is still the most peaceful State in the country,” he said.
He went on to add that Sikkim merged with the Indian Union in 1975, and along with geographical integration, people have emotionally integrated with the mainstream, and have always exhibited great patriotism towards the nation.
There could not be a bigger contribution to nation building than this, he exclaimed.
Speaking about his future in active politics, Mr Chamling stated that he came to politics with the mission to help people, and added that he is completely at the disposal of the people.
“It is for the people to decide if I should continue serving them or I should step down,” he said.
Responding to a question about challenges and threats in his political career, Mr Chamling quipped that he sees no political party as a threat and that he is fearless.
He added that with years of experience in the service of the people of Sikkim, he does not see any situation as a challenge anymore.
“I am driven by my one-point program that is to make the people of Sikkim happy and self reliant,” he added.
Delving on the issue of seat reservation at Sikkim Legislative Assembly, the Chief Minister explained that the present formula proposed by the State Government of increasing the seats to forty (40) is in the best interest of the people of Sikkim and is democratically correct. He iterated that the proposal has received in-principle approval by the Central Government and could receive the President’s Ordinance or get passed by the Parliament in the near future.
Mr Chamling further stated that the people of Sikkim should understand that politics is a responsible work and that there should be adequate debate, discussion and opinion making to understand the truth.
“People are supreme and should exercise their discrimination and use their consciousness to decide what is right or wrong. They should not be disillusioned and misguided,” he said.
Terming his politics as humanity-based, he reiterated his vision of developing the intellectual level of the people, and make Sikkim a balanced society. He added that the Sikkim today is free of extreme poverty, needs no shelter/ homes, death of policemen while on duty, communal violence, and children deprived of education.
“My foremost priority now is human development along with qualitative infrastructure development,” he added.
Speaking about Gorkha identity, he stated that people should realize their true potential and be able to compete in today’s knowledge driven world.
“They should free themselves from feeling inferior and should exercise their democratic rights. We are still stuck in the limited identity as courageous warriors in the battlefield. We have to change that perception and equip ourselves to compete at par with the rest of the world,” he stated.