GHADC results, lessons   

The people of Garo Hills have voted wisely for the next set of councilors to the Autonomous District Council. It was a vote for change. New faces have been elected and old ones thrown out. Many sitting MDCs including the former CEM and Chairman were voted out. The best way to get rid of corruption and poor governance is to dislodge the corrupt and vote in younger councilors in the hope that they will bring in much needed change. As voters it is easy to become cynical considering how politicians have repeatedly let down their voters but cynicism bears no fruit. In a democracy the citizenry has to engage more proactively in creating awareness among the masses and influencing them to vote for a larger purpose and not because the candidate pays a one-time fee for voting for him/her. This has virtually debased the tenets of democracy as was envisaged by the Indian Constitution.

The long term impacts of people taking money to vote a particular candidate are visible in Meghalaya today. Pot-holed roads and bridges that take long years to complete have become the lot of those who have elected candidates that relied on money power to win their seats. That any candidate could even consider voters to be purchasable items shows that he/she has scant regard for democracy and the sanctity of the voting process.

The BJP, a national party has made inroads into the Council winning two seats – one the prestigious Tura seat from where the present Chief Minister was elected in 2018 and another from Dalu. The BJP had put  up 21 candidates which is akin to casting a net into the sea and expecting to rake in whatever is possible. That they were able to put up 21 candidates is some achievement considering that one of the oldest regional parties – the UDP could put up candidates only in 15 constituencies without winning a single seat. Whether the GHADC polls are an indication of things to come is difficult to predict but the Chief Minister has been put on notice and cannot take things for granted. Tura might no longer be his pocket-borough and if Bernard Marak performs well as a Councillor he could well carry the trophy in 2023. Politics after all is the classic game of thrones – of seating and unseating personalities.

What will be of interest is who will lead the GHADC this time and in which direction.

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