The shenanigans in the KHADC are not just distressing but violate the very principles of the Sixth Schedule whose aim is to provide grassroots governance and to take care of tribal interests. It appears that some vested interests have been hurt by the actions of the present Executive Committee (EC), hence the recent toppling game. Members of District Councils have played fast and loose with the Sixth Schedule for a long time. They have made a mockery of it and of the peoples’ mandate. Why in the first place do elections to the District Councils happen along political party lines? The MDCs owe allegiance to no one and no political party. They may be elected from one party today but will not even bat an eyelid before jumping into another party the next day. So why make it look as if political party uniforms are necessary? The present Chief Executive Member (CEM) is an Independent but will be leading a team from different political parties. This is a travesty of electoral politics. There have been many calls from responsible citizens that the Anti-Defection Act be applied to the Councils to stem the tide of political opportunism but for reasons beyond our comprehension no one seems interested in pushing this issue further.
General Secretary of the United Democratic Party (UDP) and former legislator Jemino Mawthoh has rightly called for Administrator’s Rule in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) to stem the tides of political opportunism. He echoes the views of many right thinking people who have for long been misled to place their faith on the fickle-minded MDCs whose singular aim is to turn the Council into another marketplace; not a market-place of ideas which is the need of the hour, but one where deals are struck and profits are worked out. To expect things to sort themselves out is naïve. The MDCs are elected by an electorate. That electorate has the responsibility to speak up and take some strong steps to ensure that the Sixth Schedule is not raped again and again.
That the District Councils have lost their efficacy is a fact. They exist as second rung legislatures consuming resources, most of which end up in the pockets of individuals. They should not have continued after Meghalaya became a full-fledged state. They have not served the purpose for which they were envisaged. In fact they care very little about the mumbo-jumbo of culture and tradition. Most MDCs have one agenda and that is to fight the Assembly elections while they cool their heels in the District Councils and make their money from whatever source possible. Such an institution should be disbanded because it is now debased and people have lost complete faith in it.
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