Meghalaya’s convoluted politics
The Congress Party in Meghalaya defies all norms and principles propounded by the parent party. The Congress is ideologically opposed to the BJP. The recent speeches of AICC President, Rahul Gandhi in Parliament was a direct attack on the Modi Government and the narrow idea of nation and nationalism propounded by the BJP and its ideological mentor the RSS. It is surprising therefore that the Congress party MLAs in Meghalaya would choose to align themselves with the NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance which has within its fold two MLAs of the BJP. The MDA is also part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) chaired by Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma. The NPP National President Conrad Sangma has close ties with Prime Minister, Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. This cannot be downplayed. The Congress knows of this political affinity, so what political compulsions are pushing the Congress MLAs to the MDA?
A simple reading of the February 8 episode where the five Congress MLAs gave a written letter offering to work with the MDA, shows a desperation to be part of the ruling dispensation. The five MLAs fool no one. They might as well have joined the NPP instead of waiting to do so closer to the Assembly election which is exactly a year away. The strange alliance in Meghalaya has made national news. Political observers cannot reconcile to the fact that the Congress is offering to work with a Government of which the BJP is a coalition partner. The fact of the matter as has been repeatedly stated is that in Meghalaya people don’t vote for any ideology. The choice of candidate by a voter is a very personal one. What is playing out today in Meghalaya is the politics of personal survival.
The Congress MLAs in the opposition have not been able to get adequate development funds that those in the ruling party have. Congress MLAs know that the Party is in shambles in the North Eastern states and is unlikely to recover its losses any time soon. Elections in Meghalaya are not fought on issues but on the personal appeal of the candidate and how much he/she is able to service the voters at the personal level. Development of the state is no one’s agenda. Everything is reduced to the constituency and to individual voters and how much a candidate can do for them. In such a situation fighting elections without money is fraught with uncertainties especially when the rivals have the cash. These are the issues that weigh heavily on the minds of Congress legislators. They also know they cannot afford to be in the Opposition for the next five years beginning 2023.