VPP to hit streets against roster system

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, March 24: The Voice of the People Party (VPP) will hit the streets to highlight how the implementation of roster system in Meghalaya has affected the educated unemployed youth in Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
VPP president Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit told reporters the party is left with no other option as the government is not giving any opportunity to discuss the issue in the Assembly.
“We will seek the confidence of youth and general public on this very important issue. We will not allow our youth to suffer due to the roster system,” Basaiawmoit said, expressing unhappiness on Speaker Thomas A. Sangma’s decision to conclude the House proceedings for the day on Friday without hearing the members of the Opposition.
According to him, the Speaker should have sought suggestions from the Opposition whether to extend or stick to the timing according to the calendar.
The VPP president said this is the first time that the budget session is being held for seven days and only two of those are reserved for private member’s business. It is totally unacceptable to restrict the timing only to ten minutes for the members to take part in the debate on the Governor’s address, he said.
Basaiawmoit argued that being elected members,  it is their duty to speak on the issues afflicting the state and the people.
“People are asking us to take up issues. We will not sit idle nor will we allow this kind of tactic in the Assembly,” the VPP president said.
He said the government is fully aware that there is an important motion submitted by the opposition members.
“I have clearly mentioned the urgent need to discuss the roster system. We wanted to request the government to put on hold the implementation of the roster system retrospectively,” Basaiawmoit said.
He said the government did not want this issue to be discussed by instructing their MLAs to participate in a motion that is confined to one constituency.
“This is a deliberate attempt by the government to run away from its responsibilities but we will not allow it to do so,” Basaiawmoit said, terming the attempt as “anti-people” and “undemocratic”.
Asked why the VPP is not seeking redressal from the High Court of Meghalaya, he said the court had issued directives on many issues in the past but the government did not abide by them.
“Policy matter is not a domain of the court but of the government,” he added.
Govt skirting responsibilities: Mukul
TMC leader Mukul Sangma alleged the government is attempting to skirt its responsibilities by not extending the timing of the sitting of the Assembly.
“This is not a session for the passing of vote on account. It is a session to pass the full budget,” Sangma said reacting to the Speaker’s decision to adjourn the House on Friday.
He said when a session was considered very short in the past, it was extended to provide additional space for the members to raise issues.
“We always extended the time as per the Rules and Conduct of Business. The House can transact its business from 10 am to 2 pm on normal days and from 10 am to 12 noon on a Friday. But we had always given an extension even if it was Friday,” Sangma said.
He said the time is limited as the government decided to pass the full budget within March 31.
“The normal practice was that a vote on account is passed during the first budget session of the new House immediately after elections. Another session is subsequently convened to pass the full budget. This has been the convention,” the TMC leader said.
He said it was evident on Friday that there is a tendency to shrink the duration available for discussions, deliberations and debates.
He categorically stated that there should be enough discussions and deliberations to instil confidence in the minds of people. Accountability to the legislature means accountability to people. Running away from responsibility and accountability is not in sync with the core value of democracy, he added.

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