Intriguing political developments

Editor,

As a citizen of Meghalaya with a wee bit of education and understanding of political thought and practice as drummed into us by our political teachers in college I, and I am sure there are many like me, who are totally intrigued and bemused, perplexed and confused at the political episodes and events unfolding before the state. What is happening is totally at odds with that is supposed to happen in a parliamentary democracy where people are supposed to be elected for their love and desire to serve the state and its communities from platforms called political parties who in turn are expected to project through their manifestos the principles, ethos, values , ideology, philosophy and ethics that are supposed to guide the party and their members in their service to the people. As God is my witness, I see nothing of the sort occurring in our state but instead with each passing day the very opposite happens – to exploit the state and rob the poor, is increasing by satanic leaps and bounds, with all political parties both national and regional maintaining the calm of mute conniving silence.

Now Political Science, at least in theory, informs us that in a democratic parliament ( in our case the Legislative Assembly) the Speaker of the house is elected from among the elected members, usually from the ruling party. He is supposed to preside over the proceedings of the House and to moderate its discussions and debates. Once a member is elected as Speaker of the House he is supposed to shed his party affiliations and don a neutral and unbiased disposition. In Meghalaya, however the President of one of the ruling coalition parties is elected as Speaker of the House ( so far so good) but this incumbent character simply refuses to let go of his position in his own party. As Speaker he continues to retain the Presidentship of his party. Now what happens if and when heated House discussions erupt on the poor performance of the Home and Education Department or on the potential scam of illegal sale of Government quota rice from the Social Welfare Department? Both departments are headed by MLAs from the Speaker’s party. Can the Speaker then maintain and carry out an unbiased dispassionate stand in such a case? Is that possible in an environment of unprincipled politics of opportunism? Our politicians will no doubt bristle with pseudo indignity at such a question but one would love to hear the views of our learned political science professors, experts and lecturers on the matter. One would love to be further enlightened on the matter.

There is another question about Meghalaya politics that increasingly continues to boggle the mind. The question is, “Why did we break away from Assam and ask for a state of our own”? Obviously the answer everybody expected 49 years ago was that through a state of our own we would be getting better performance in governance, improved administration , enhanced delivery of justice ( social, cultural and economic), greater social confidence in Government and overall growth and development would be the end result of statehood. All of the above was based on one simple fundamental fact – that the persons we elect to power and those elected to govern will basically be driven by the noble selfless desire to serve wholeheartedly the state and its people. Has this happened? The sad answer is a big NO. Instead the process of election and of Government being the platform to serve the interest of the people has been turned into a business opportunity. Only businessmen now seem interested in contesting elections since they see tremendous opportunities to increase their own businesses once they get elected. That is why this increasing trend of investing crores in winning a petty MLA election. There is no governance. Only the selling and buying of resources of the state. The Democratic exercise we practice once every five years is simply how to make a few rich men richer and the poor poorer. I wish some spirited politician would dare challenge the above claim.

However there appears that a new trend is now emerging among our political elite which is that they are now beginning to learn how to joke. I should not be misunderstood, but I believe that one who jokes is usually called a joker. Keeping within the confines of this definition I would like to refer the reader to ST July 12, front page heading which says “Mukul should not meddle in MDA affairs: Kharlukhi”. The report refers to Rajya Sabha MP and NPP President’s retort to Mukul Sangma’s barrage of criticism over the performance of the MDA Govt over a number of issues. Now I am no supporter nor lover of the Congress but it happens to be the main opposition in Meghalaya and again Political Science teaches us that the job of the Opposition is to oppose. Now if the Opposition does not criticise the Govt then what is it expected to do, cuddle it? Strange logic of the NPP president indeed and people are of the opinion that it is ( ka nia tep eit miaw suda), comparing it to a cat trying to bury its own scat. The statement has also made a number of people start wondering as to when the RS member will start voicing in Parliament, the field where he is expected to speak, the woes of Meghalaya which range from border disputes, collapsing infrastructure ( the Dwar Ksuid bridge, urban waste disposal, abuse of the environment) and the raging Covid pandemic in the state that is threatening both lives and livelihoods. Ignoring his duty and mandate as RS member and devoting his energy instead in censuring Opposition criticism is a joke, but a poor joke at Meghalaya’s cost.

Yours etc.,

Veronica Shabong,

Via email

List of Covid positive people goes viral

Editor,

On Sunday morning, shockingly many people in Tura town received a WhatsApp post with the names, cell numbers and localities of Covid positive patients. Whoever is responsible for this callous act must be hauled up by the courts. The post is a serious breach of privacy of citizens. The High Courts of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh , Odisha and Madras have frowned upon this low-down despicable act of revealing names of Covid patients and in the case of the MP High Court ruling a fine of ₹25000 was threatened to be imposed on the petitioner who wanted the names of Covid positive patients be made public.

Further, the repercussions for this reprehensible act are many. Now the question arises as to who had access to this data. Who compiled it ? What was the need to create a breach of privacy of the citizens? The present system in Tura as far as checking on the positive Covid patients each morning is working extremely well and it’s a genuinely caring gesture. So what was the need to make a list and ridiculously make it public?

I repeat that those responsible for this negligence must be brought to book and the guilty must not be shielded for in the name of fighting the Covid pandemic. Far too many rights of citizens are being trampled up.

Yours etc.,

Tyrone D’Brass

Tura.

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