By Louis Pyngrope
It will not be long before the research agency NITI Aayog will brand us as people who do not know how to elect representatives in any election, whether to the Legislative Assembly /District Council / or Parliament as the way we elect them is based only on the personal, social relationships. Of course, this is also an important criterion to be considered while electing any representative, but we are still missing other important criteria in our election like the choice of the political party to which they belong. This is very important as the ruling party matters whether at the state or centre or even the district councils. This is important because the political party’s policies and ideology are clearly spelled out in the manifestoes and it is mandatory for the party to function in accordance with its stated ideology and policies. This is the only reason why we have not got the government which could deliver in the last half of a century.
Our leaders took advantage of our simple mindedness by not showing their willingness to make us read seriously the manifestoes as they fear that we will judge their performances during the term when they were elected and then decide not to re-elect the same for the next term. The same ideology goes to the party ruling the state as people will get the power to choose which party will be ruling next. As of now, these ideologies and principles are just written in the manifestoes (without any seriousness at all). They are merely to fulfil the criteria laid down by the Election Commission. Ironically, the same people we have elected do not want us to read the manifestoes seriously as it had happened in the past. Let us now be awakened by not committing the same mistake and put into practice this actual method of electing our representative from the next Legislative Assembly election of 2023 based on their manifestos.
In the legislative assembly election of 2023, we will simultaneously uproot the criminalisation of politics by not accepting any purchase of votes by any political party or candidate as it is the main cause for the deterioration of the quality of the legislators in our state as observed in the present government. If we can get rid of all the present set of legislators, we will be left with good legislators who are also statesmen and hopefully they will bring good governance to our state. Our voters are people having enough wisdom and so they will elect only real legislators with statesmanship qualities in them. Then only can we say that we are free from the businessmen who have used politics in our state to boost up their businesses as we have experienced in the past many years. If we elect any candidate on the basis of educational qualification, statesmanship qualities and the calibre to legislate in the assembly, and at the same time belonging to a political party committed to public service then we can expect a change in governance. But, if we fail to elect the right candidates and get conned by the same people then we will experience misgovernance and this will burden our state with the worst governance in the country. Furthermore, the absence of good legislators compels the Union Ministry to treat the resolution unanimously resolved by the State Assembly as unworthy of consideration, hence no action was taken on it ( ref: Implementation of ILP and recognition of Khasi and Garo languages for their inclusion in the eight schedule).
We have been seeing moral corruption more than our common perception of financial corruption. We will never be able to uproot financial corruption unless we first eliminate moral corruption. The first and the foremost step for us to take is to do away with the purchase of votes by political parties or by the candidate which is an accepted practice in Meghalaya. especially in rural constituencies. These types of candidates ruin the prestige of our state by promoting corruption at all levels in the day to day functioning of the government. If such leaders are voted out then good governance will ensure that Meghalayans enjoy peace and progress.
As education has not been given priority by past governments, our so-called leaders, for their vested interests, have not made it compulsory for the electorate to learn the pros and cons of the system we have adopted to elect the leaders of our state. Now is the opportunity for us to practice the new system to elect our good legislators as leaders.
Last but not the least, I would like to humbly request the leaders with some well-defined ideology, principles and commitments for the cause of the people to come out and contest. It is time for us to understand and adopt the new format of electing our political leaders and legislators where we can expect health and education policies to be implemented with a provision to learn healthy lifestyles right from the primary level. This should become part of the school syllabus. Furthermore, awareness should be given at the school level about the ill-effects of drug addiction and its prevention.
These new legislators may find that the knowledge of elementary laws which are applicable in our day to day activities are also very essential and hence the same should be introduced at different stages of our education. If all these are implemented, our children will be considered to have received a very good level of education and hence be given due weightage in different parts of the country and the world.
(The writer is a retired teacher of Lady Keane College)