Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Sangma does it against all hopes


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47th Constitution Amendment

Captain Sangma has done it! From what it appeared to be an irretrievable situation, he has managed to get the two Houses of Parliament to pass the Bill for 47th Amendment to the Constitution.

The Bill provides for reservation of Assembly seats for the tribal’s of Meghalaya and Nagaland, Parliamentary seats in the tribal States and Union Territories of the North-East.

On Aug 22 when, against now-or-never back-drop, the Parliament tailed to pass the Bill at the consideration stage for want of quorum, it was almost taken for granted that virtually that was the end of it. Normally when such a situation arises, the practice is that the Bill is reintroduced in the next session. But since the present session is likely to be the last one for the present House, and the since the result of the forthcoming elections are unpredictable it was vital for the protagonists of the Bill to get it adopted.

According to information’s available here, a crest-fallen Chief Minister, who is campaign in Delhi for the past fortnight to ensure its smooth passage, made a desperate bid to clinch the issue. He reportedly threatened to resign from the Congress(I) if the Bill was not adopted by the Parliament Mrs Gandhi instructed the colleagues to go all out. A desperate Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Buta Singh, consult the senior parliament aides. It was decided that rules of the House be suspended to facilitate the passing of the Bill without complying with the normal requisites under the rules. Accordingly, the Look Sabah Speaker Mr. Balaam Shaker did the needful the next day.

It is the second time that Look Sabah suspended the rules for Meghalaya. The other occasion was at the time of creation of the State.

The idea to reserve the seats for the tribal’s has been unanimously supported by all the political parties of the State. Following the creation of Meghalaya, the Centre had decided to deserve the seats.

Subsequently, the State Assembly adopted a resolution urging the Centre to restore reservation of seats for the tribal’s who were apprehensive that outsiders would someday get elected from the predominantly tribal areas. However, so far there has been instance of any non-tribal contesting election from the interior areas.

There was a sigh of relief in the Congress (I) circles here when reports reached that the job is done. Earlier, when there was a set-back a sense of dismay had griped the partymen. For, it would have been a sure stick for the Opposition to beat the party with.


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