Capricious public sentiments

Politics and politicians create noise during election campaigns mainly to divert people’s attentions from their failure to deliver the public goods in the last five years. To fight anti-incumbency ruling party politicians use all kinds of diversionary tactics. Unfortunately people easily fall for such stratagem but that’s also because during the election campaign period there are no platforms for raising questions from those who have held the reins of governance. Sitting MLAs make generic statements about what they have utilised the MLA schemes of Rs 2.5 crore annually. Recently an MLA confessed that the money he could not spend in the last five years was used to buy pressure cookers for his destitute constituents. It is bad enough that the relationship between the voters and the MLA is reduced to that of a client and patron. The MLA schemes has been largely abused and the bulk of it is used in the fag end of the MLA’s tenure which is in the fifth year when he/she seeks re-election. It is unfortunate that people are not educated enough to understand that what’s being used to lure voters is public money and does not come from the MLAs personal coffers.
Another contentious issue about Meghalaya’s politics is that people tend to have short memories. The pressure groups that make a strident noise for all of four years and will be doing that the moment a new government is in place by March 3 next are curiously silent now. Once a new government is formed they will start making the same old demands they have raised for the last 50 years. These would include the border disputes with Assam, the Inner Line Permit, blocking the railways from entering Meghalaya, deporting the ubiquitous alien (who is never identified). A pressure group that raised a hue and cry over unemployment a couple of months ago is now not even demanding that all political parties should make unemployment a priority in their manifesto.
If the politicians are holding public meetings, it is incumbent on the pressure groups to have parallel meetings where they will remind people of the unfulfilled promises of successive governments and of the many scams that have tainted the present MDA government. What has happened to the Smart Meter scam and the Rice scam? Where are the enquiry reports? Why are they not made public? Are other political parties like VPP and TMC that were not in the government reminding the public of these issues? What about the collapse of the Meghalaya Assembly dome? At whose doorstep does the blame lie? It’s public money down the drain so why is the MDA government brushing all these misdemeanours under the carpet? And worse is that the engineer in charge of the construction of the Assembly building is contesting elections from the NPP ticket. This is literally a slap in the face of the voting public.

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