I joined the Hon’ble Governor of Sikkim, Shri Ganga Prasad ji on the occasion of the 44th State Day celebrations at Chintan Bhawan today.

Addressing an audience comprising mostly of bureaucrats, employees and students, I highlighted the following points:

– I reminded that Sikkim became an integral part of our great nation and embraced democracy through a Referendum which was passed on the 14th of February 1975. This gesture on the part of Sikkim and its people stands out as unique because history has shown that most of the small states in the country and in different parts of the world have rather chosen to separate from larger nations and gain freedom and sovereignty, for example, the recent referendum between Scotland and England. I reiterated that this willingness of the Sikkimese people to merge with the Indian Union speaks of the high level of patriotism of the people of Sikkim. The very fact that Referendum of 1975 was unanimously agreed upon and only 2% of the population of Sikkim voted against it speaks about the willingness of our people to be a part of the Indian Union.

– Sikkim has seen overarching development since it became the 22nd state of India, particularly during the last twenty-five years.

– We have ensured sustained peace and tranquillity in the State and not let any outside force get the better of us. However, surprisingly, we are witnessing a strange shift in the people’s mindset as they seem to resent the existing situation of Sikkim and aspiring for a certain change. Hence, it can be said that we are not threatened by any outside force or violence of any kind, but it is our own mind which is playing games and distracting us.

– I recalled the developmental journey of Sikkim in the last twenty-five years and stated that we have successfully ensured that all basic minimum needs of the people of Sikkim are met. Every section of the population has prospered and benefitted from the inclusive policies of the Government. Yet, people fail to acknowledge this positive change in their lives and are openly criticizing the Government. People have become victims of power struggle and have been divided and disillusioned and divided on the lines of caste and religion. I expressed fear and apprehension that this tendency could take us back to the early seventies when public resentment and retaliation was at its peak.

– As the longest serving Chief Minister, my name features among politicians who have shaped the political and administrative history of a State. I am someone who believes in creating history, and not someone who destroys and disrupts the existing history. I have sacrificed the better part of my life for the service of the people of Sikkim and given them unlimited comfort. If people fail to see and acknowledge this, it is their problem, not mine.

– Our developmental initiatives have touched every section of the population – from students to employees and from businessmen to farmers. We have gone out of our way to extend medical aid and facilities to the people of Sikkim, especially the poor and those in distress. And now with the establishment of the multi-speciality hospital in the State, we have endeavoured to provide the best health care facilities right in the State itself. It is for the people to see and realize how much we have stretched to bring comfort in their lives.

– I informed that a German Magazine has stated – “Sikkim is Paradise on Earth”. Our initiatives in the field of organic agriculture and various environment steps have begun to be acknowledged and noticed all over the world. In near future, Sikkim will surely feature as the biggest initiator of ways and methods to fight global warming. Our organic farming and green initiatives will go down in history as the biggest contributions to mitigate the challenges of global warming and environmental degradation.

– I mentioned that among all things that change and disappear over time, there are two things which will remain immortal – One is history and the other is thoughts and ideas. Nobody can ever change or erase the history that we have created in the field of organic agriculture and green initiatives. Likewise, my thoughts and ideas which formed the bedrock of our policy initiatives will never change and no force can obliterate it. The glorious history of Sikkim in the last twenty-five years of exemplary governance will never change nor be wiped away.

– I said that apart from a few initiatives of the Chogyal and subsequent Governments in the field of industrialization in Sikkim, it was our Government under my leadership which brought about the Industrial Revolution in the State in the year 2000. Today, all major industrial players in the world have set up their base in Sikkim.

– Our Government has built the image of the State. If this image is sustained, people of Sikkim will prosper. For me, Sikkim is my limitless heaven and I have been very sincere towards my State – my Sikkim. I have immense respect and belongingness and love for Sikkim.

– We must realize that the democracy we have received is priceless and we should utilize it to develop our State. People of Sikkim should live with a sense of pride and have a deep sense of love and belongingness towards our State and the country. We should consider ourselves as equal partners (‘Sajedar’) in the development process instead of considering ourselves as mere tenants or ‘Kirayadar’.

– I expressed my disappointment over the current trend of criminalizing politics in Sikkim. I directed the DGP and the entire police and administrative machinery to keep high vigil and ensure safety and security of people’s lives and properties, especially during and after the process of election results. The counting process should be peaceful, and the new Government should take over peacefully.

– I put on record my appreciation for the successful execution of the election process by the Police and State Administration. I thanked and congratulated each Government employee for their contribution in ensuring free and fair elections.

– I extended my heartiest congratulations to the family members of Late Shri Namgyal Tshering Euthenpa who was posthumously awarded the prestigious L.D. Kazi Award for Democratic Movement on this special occasion for his immense contribution during the democratic movement in the State during the seventies. I recalled some memories I shared with Late Shri Namgyal Tshering Euthenpa, who was fondly known as ‘Namgyal Babu’. He was a strong advocate of democracy and idolized the democratic values practised by India. The State is honoured to present the L.D. Kazi Award to Late Namgyal Babu.

– Similarly, I congratulated Shri Chandra Kumar Gurung for being awarded the Jeewan Rakshak Padak Award 2018 for exhibiting great bravery and courage in rescuing a youth from drowning in the river.

– I reiterated that it was our Government which established and institutionalized the L.D. Kazi Award and other Civilian Awards, as well as the tradition of renaming schools after renowned contributors to the State. We also established the Seva Ratna, Siksha Shree and Siksha Siromani Awards to honour notable contribution made by Government servants and teachers respectively.

– In the end, I congratulated and extended my best wishes to the people of Sikkim on the special occasion and urged everyone to take ownership of Sikkim.

Earlier, on our arrival at the venue, I joined the Hon’ble Governor Shri Ganga Prasad Ji in offering garlands on the statue of Late Shri L.D. Kazi, the first Chief Minister of Sikkim, and the father of the democratic movement in Sikkim.