VoPP is born; all the best
Since Meghalaya’s history began in 1972, there has not been a government worse than the present one that began in the spring of 2018, when the streets from Khyndailad to Rajbhavan were adorned with the saffron flag. An elderly gentleman watching the procession in front of the AG’s office building whispered, ‘Man, had the BJP won this time I wonder what would have been the situation.’ I explained to him that aligning with the BJP will be beneficial for Meghalaya since financial help from the centre would flow into our dry exchequer.
While the jubilation and celebrations were happening, the Congress watched with disbelief at how the acolytes of Hopingstone Lyngdoh and B.B Lyngdoh could feast with the NPP. The NPP was formed after PA Sangma was expelled by the NCP ( Nationalist Congress Party) which was formed in 2008. The NCP was formed when the Indian identity of the then President of the Congress – Sonia Gandhi was challenged by Sharad Pawar and others including Mr PA Sangma. Pawar was expelled from the Congress and with him Purno Sangma also quit the Congress which in the previous term had made him the Union Minister for Labour and Coal. A year later Purno Sangma quit the NCP and formed the NPP. In the last Lok Sabha election the NPP got one seat from Garo Hills with Agatha Sangma defeating Dr Mukul Sangma. But courtesy the Government of India and the Election Commission of India, although the NPP has just one Lok Sabha member in a house of 540 parliamentarians, the Party got ‘national party’ status.
On careful scrutiny of the MDA, it is crystal clear that it has always been inclined towards the BJP. Hence Agatha Sangma voted for the CAA. And now the NDA Government is trying to rope in the corporates ( some among the world’s top ten) in the energy sectors with the new Electricity Act to be tabled soon in the Lok Sabha. If this Bill is passed we would have to pay through our noses for the power that comes to our homes.
More distressing, however, is that the two so-called regional parties abide by all the policy matters of the NPP since they have no policy of their own. To point out each of these instances would occupy too much space but social media is a good indicator at the dismal performance of the regional party MLAs in the House when grilled by the Congress and by KHNAM MLA, Adelbert Nongrum. They all come across as incompetent.
Coming to the Voice of the People Party (VoPP), which has promised to restore the dignity of Meghalaya, we expect a lot from it and from its leader, Ardent Basaiawmoit. This party is the need of the hour to cleanse bad governance but Basaiawmoit would have to spell out how he will achieve the goals spelt out by the VOPP. I recall the Langpih border skirmish not long ago when the then Assam Govt sent some non-Assamese to disturb the peace and harmony of the villagers, even killing four of our people. Basaiawmoit rushed that same night to West Khasi Hills to console the bereaved families. Unfortunately, he lost the 2018 election from Nongkrem. The pertinent point here is that people don’t remember MLAs who strive to do good.
Meghalaya has 60 constituencies with hardly 15,000 voters. Most of these voters are vulnerable to freebies. Whereas in Bihar and UP, an MLA wins over his nearest rival by a margin of over one lakh votes, the victorious MLA in our state manages to win with just 6,000 votes. Yes, the Election Commission can claim to rectify this, but at times what we see is far from the truth. Meghalaya’s constituencies have a very small population and the electorate suffer from temporary loss of memory over what had gone wrong in the last five years. Most of the old stalwarts that have worked for their constituencies and for the state but are not rich enough to pay voters, will not dare to fight the 2023 elections. This rampant growth of money power in politics will ensure that 2023 will be no different. The same set of business people will enter the fray and win.
Having said this, I have no intention to be a wet blanket for the VoPP. In fact, I wish the Party best of luck in this new world when the best of times and the best of everything we cherish in life appears to have vanished.