Money, not dynasty the problem
Apropos the letter, “Why promote dynastic politics?” (ST Feb 18, 2021) by Marcellious Kharsati, I have seriously pondered on whether the contention of the author is correct or whether he has a strange fixity of ideas? I tried very hard to convince myself about it and have come to the conclusion that it is more a perception rather than reality. Let’s forget the national scene where out of lakhs of political families only a microscopic few have occupied political space owing to family connections. I would appreciate if anybody better informed can correct me here.
But allow me to confine myself to our own state. Since 1972, as far as I can recollect, there won’t be more than a dozen families that have seen sons and daughters (and in a couple of cases widows) of former politicians, retired or expired, succeeding their father or husband.
Here is my list: Late P.G. Marbaniang’s son RG Lyngdoh and daughter Ampareen Lyngdoh; Late G.G. Swell’s son Late Sanbor Swell Lyngdoh; Late E.K. Mawlong’s son George Lyngdoh; Late P.A. Sangma’s two sons Conrad & James Sangma and daughter Agatha Sangma; Mukul Sangma’s daughter Miani Shira and wife Dikanchi Shira; Late Don Kupar Roy’s son Balajied Kupar Synrem, Late T.H. Rangad’s widow Jopsimon Phanbuh; Late Korbar Singh’s widow Roshan Warjri; Late P.N.Chaudhuri’s two sons Ardhendu and Manas Chaudhuri; Late Humphrey Hadem’s son Late Edmond Speakerson Lyngdoh. That makes a total of mere ten families who have held their dynastic flag flying in politics since 1972. Evidently, I can’t see there has been a plethora of succession politics in Meghalaya, as the letter writer seems to have us believe.
On the other hand, many of the political stalwarts like Capt W.A. Sangma, B.B.Lyngdoh, P.R.Kyndiah, D.D.Pugh et al have not thrown up successors to their political “fiefdom.” That may be due to varied factors, ranging from lack of ambition and/or ability to absence of progeny. However, it is also true that sympathy has played a significant role in the electoral successes of these “dynasts.” It is significant that many of the above named successions have been preceded by tragedy of MLA’s death in harness. In my view, the voters primarily tend to choose a successor because of their old connections and a sense of comfort, if not trust with the family Obviously, personality, acumen and flair of the candidate also make a big difference between success and failure.
I also need to repudiate the other contention that money makes it possible to ensure dynastic politics. That’s far from true. The stark reality is that every candidate in the fray has to spend money. Those having better chance of success spend more. Yes, I agree with the writer that money is the name of the game. First you ‘invest” and then you “reap!” Isn’t this Meghalaya’s making and unmaking?
I also wonder why the writer has singled out the Congress Party for the lack of second rung leadership. Which party has produced leaders? Leaders (read elected representatives) are either made by fortune or personal ability. Isn’t Meghalaya suffering for throwing up some elected representatives who are simply not up to it? Compare the quality of our leaders of the first Assembly who were as good as any in the country. The same cannot be said for the many that have followed subsequently. Meghalaya is not doomed because of “dynastic politics”; it is the diminishing ability of our elected leaders to run the administration efficiently and lawfully which is taking the state down the precipice.
Arguments on merit only
At the outset, I take strong exception to the contents of the letter written by one Mason Lyngdoh titled, “Each voice must be heard” (ST Feb 26, 2021). Personally, I have no mood to dignify his ad hominem attacks against me with any answer. Therefore, let me jump straight into the other aspects of his letter which require urgent rebuttals.
If Mason Lyngdoh or any other person for that matter has any valid evidence to present on specific merits of a suit under litigation, why not make their voices heard at the appropriate legal forum by getting themselves impleaded in the case? Writing strong worded letters to newspaper on the merits of a case under litigation is easy, but presenting the same before the competent court is an entirely different matter. Furthermore, comparing my previous letter relating to the MCS Mains exam with the letter titled, “Solution to the ongoing MCS case” (ST Feb 20, 2021) does not make any logical sense and Mason Lyngdoh should revisit the points on which my letter was worded. My concern in the said letter was solely on the delay of the MCS Mains exam results, and not on any other legal point. That has now been resolved and I am thankful to the MPSC for that. I must add here that in every examination, even academic examinations for that matter, there will always be people or unsuccessful candidates who will never accept the winners and such people will try to find technical faults to pull the successful lot down. So, it’s either their way or the highway. Nonetheless, that does not deter us from putting our faith in the legal system for complete justice.
As regards to the issue raised by the author on the so called “Reservation within Reservation”, I direct the attention of Mason Lyngdoh to our State Reservation Policy vide No. PER. 222/71/138 dated January 12, 1972 which has clearly reserved certain percentages of seats for Khasi-Jaintia, Garo and other STs/SCs respectively. Therefore, I do not understand what he means when he says that MPSC cannot give reservation away freely or that certain people cannot claim reservation as a matter of right. As far as I am aware, reservation as far as applicable to the MCS recruitment has only been allotted to those communities mentioned in the State Reservation Policy as per the mandated percentages. I also urge him to read the latest SC decision delivered in State of Punjab vs Davinder Singh (August 27, 2020), a judgment rendered by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court of India on validity of quota within quota.
I leave it at that and would not like to comment any further as again, I remind everyone that the matter is still under litigation. I am no Judge to adjudicate on the issue and neither is Mason Lyngdoh who has already prematurely termed our State Reservation Policy as “illegal”, without any prior knowledge of law or even the facts and circumstances of the case at hand.