Upbeat VPP aims to usher new political culture in state

SHILLONG, March 17: Buoyed by its fine electoral debut, Voice of the People Party (VPP) is looking to expand its base across Meghalaya with a hope to bring about radical changes to the prevailing political culture of the state.
The newbie sprang a surprise at the February 27 elections by bagging four seats and missing out on a couple narrowly. And it is not resting on its laurels.
VPP is aiming to eliminate, among others, scourge of corruption, unprincipled politics including defection.
The Khasi Hills-based party, ever since poll results, has been on its feet to expand base even in Garo Hills.
While speaking to The Shillong Times here on Friday, VPP spokesperson, Batskhem Myrboh said that the party is upbeat with its performance in the just concluded Assembly polls.
“We are very excited and happy after managing to win four out of the 18 seats in its maiden election it had contested,” Myrboh said.
He informed that the party is currently reviewing its performance of those constituencies where they have done outstandingly well like Mylliem, Mawphlang, Umsning and Nongthymmai.
The VPP spokesperson said that the party’s major base at present is in East Khasi Hills district.
Myrboh further observed that this proves a point that East Khasi Hills is a district where the literacy rate is on the higher side as compared to the other districts.
“It also shows that the political consciousness of the people is more if the level of education is on the higher side. People are supporting the principle and ideology of the party of clean and corruption free governance,” the VPP spokesperson said.
He stated that this is a promising sign and it also gives them encouragement to work even harder.
“We anticipate and hope that this wave of the VPP which are there in East Khasi Hills will even spread out to other district. We do not have any kind of doubt that the party will be able to increase its popularity and base even in other districts,” Myrboh said.
The spokesperson said that they had not been able to put up candidates in many of the constituencies in the recent Assembly polls.
According to him, despite this fact, the support base of the party is intact in those constituencies where it did not field candidates.
“What we learnt is that many people have gone to cast their votes just for the sake of exercising their franchise. Many of them wanted (it, but) the party could not set up candidates in these constituencies,” Myrboh said.
He further observed that the vote share of the party would have increased if they had put up candidates in many of the constituencies.
“What we are witnessing is that there is general acceptance to the ideology of the party,” the VPP spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, he said that the VPP has provided the people with an alternative which they have been waiting for so long.
According to him, the present political leadership is unable to realise what the people want, which is the need to bring a change to pave way for an accountable government.
“Many of the political leaders still believe that the people can be fooled. The people are looking at the VPP as an alternative to bring about a positive change,” Myrboh said.
Moreover, he informed that the party will start the exercise for carrying out the enrolment drive in the different constituencies.
According to him, they could not strengthen the organisation aspect of the party since they received the registration from the ECI only in November last year.
“Everyone was busy in preparing for the elections. In the first half, we will be carrying the enrolment drive for strengthening of the party as part of the preparations for the upcoming elections in the KHADC and JHADC,” he informed.
VPP is planning to field candidates in all the 29 seats in the KHADC, since they have already started to get proposal for putting up candidates in all the constituencies.
“We are also getting good response in Jaintia Hills. We will try to put up candidates in as many number of seats in the JHADC,” Myrboh said.
According to him, the party will decide the allotment of party tickets through ballot system if there is more than one good candidate in any of the constituency.
“We want to ensure that there is fairness in the allotment of the party tickets,” Myrboh said.
The VPP spokesperson said that as far as possible, they will not give party tickets to any candidate who has already contested from another party in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
“We will not want our candidates to leave the party. We will give preference to those who worked for the party,” he said.
Moreover, Myrboh said that the party will also try to expand its base even in Garo Hills since they wanted to be an inclusive party.
He exuded confidence that the party will be able to sustain this current wave of popularity which it managed to secure in the recent polls.
He does not believe that it is only the song of the party which is ushering in the support of the people.
“People are accepting the ideology of the party and understand the issues which affect the state. We have not assured any freebies nor did we make any promises which are impossible to fulfill. We are not going to succeed if we fail the expectations and hopes of the people,” Myrboh added.
He also stated that the four MLAs of the party will provide a constructive opposition since they believe that there is a need for a strong opposition to bring about clean and accountable governance.
Meanwhile, the party has decided to organise a ‘rally of gratitude’ at Polo Ground at 11 am on Saturday. Also, there will be a felicitation for the composer and singer of the immensely popular election song — “Kongdeng Kongnah ha U Prah”.

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