MDA, a government for the elected

 

By Aristotle Lyngdoh

When crisis and disaster occurs, the top priority of government and authorities is to stand by its citizens ensuring adequate protection and support from all possible threats and danger. And this is what governments around the world are doing for their people. Whereas here in Meghalaya our Government seems to be more concerned about something else, especially for those who might not even be their voters. Whatever be the reason behind this, citizens of the state have the right to know. Or is this because of the mounting pressure from those who have financed them during the last general election?

When the fear and trauma from the pandemic has not even subsided, the recent announcement and decision by the state cabinet to bring back migrant workers is not pleasant news at all. And I believe it is the same feeling with most people too. What assurance does the Government have to ensure that these migrant workers are not carrier of the disease? On the other hand, the claim by the Government that the State needs skilled workers from outside is a blatant and direct insult to our indigenous workers. In other words we can say that this statement reflects the attitude of the Government towards its own electorate. It puts them at the level of those who are not fit to do anything except for voting during elections. If the people of the state lack skills and expertise of any kind, is it not the duty of the Government to create opportunities for them? Otherwise what is the point of electing such a Government? This action by the State Government doesn’t in any way inspire confidence among the general population.

At a  time when people are rushing home due to the pandemic and countries too are restricting visas for foreign nationals, our State Government is doing just the opposite. Whose interest does a migrant worker serve at this point of time? What type of high tech machine do we have in the state where that our local people are not capable of operating? These things need more clarification from the authorities concerned. In fact this is the opportunity where local people can acquire employment and skills during difficult times. I do not think that skills are only the reason for the Government’s intention to bring back migrant workers. One of the reasons can be the cost factor which is lesser than that paid to local workers and this is beneficial for construction work and for contractors. But during an emergency situation this is also risky as it could trigger a bigger explosion of the pandemic. So where do you put the citizens of the state if that happens? From this perspective, it shows that the intention of the MDA Government is to appease only their fellow comrades in the party or constituency who are badly affected by the drain of migrant workers. But to compromise health and harmony in the present situation with such silly things is very wrong and unfortunate. I also wonder why other small parties like PDF, HSPDP, BJP, UDP, and independents do not disagree with this idea. Those who claim they are working hard for the people but are hand in gloves for the same purpose are only serving themselves. It is ironic and shameful for them because of their blatant lies to the electorates.

              If coalition partners of the MDA are people oriented parties, they should raise their voices against any wrong move by the ruling partner. Do they have the guts to bring down the coalition when people of the State are in danger because of mismanagement by the Government? No I don’t think so. These people are calculative. They know that once they switch sides they are nothing. The fact is that they know that the Opposition has more capable legislators. Therefore, they can’t afford to lose their position for now since most of them are all first time MLAs and ministers. It is a sad state of affairs for the State and this is the picture and quality of our representatives. While our own people are crying and dying because of loss of jobs, I am afraid that the action of the Government with the consensus of its partners will only create jealousy and enmity among different groups of people. Does the Government want more trouble? Had it not experienced enough turmoil from past incidents such as Ichamati, Them Metor and others?

The Government should clarify as to what is the urgency of bringing migrants workers back? Where are the pending construction works that need immediate attention which cannot be postponed for a while?  The idea to bring workers back is contradicting the efforts of containing the pandemic. At this point of time I think the priority should be on containment of the disease. And let the new normal decide what is suitable and appropriate for the entire state. The Government should have avoided this provocative approach because the state and its people can no longer afford more curfews and lockdowns. Let the new beginning usher in a new way of life where we can see Meghalaya a state free from any disturbances and clashes that hinder the overall progress of the State.

              Two years have passed for the MDA rule in the state, yet we see nothing concrete emerging. The slogan of change during election campaigns is just another answer blowing in the wind. Ever since the MDA assumed office, it was confronted by many issues and incidences such as the Them Metor clashes, CAB & ILP protest, Ichamati incident. These were like floods and turbulences for the new MDA boat. But unfortunately with the spread of this pandemic, it suddenly brought calmness to the political environment. Perhaps this smooth weather has tempted the captain of the ship to device plans how to sail longer in this smooth weather free from instability. We cannot rule out the impact of this smooth weather on the political arena. But I do hope that the new normal will continue with the same practice of social distancing and complete absence of public meetings. I also wish the speedy transformation of economy to cashless transaction and only then will democracy overcome the power of money during elections.

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