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Lok Sabha polls: RDA rallies forces in Khasi-Jaintia Hills

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, March 9: The UDP and HSPDP are rallying their forces across length and breadth of the Khasi-Jaintia Hills by forming RDA committees in various constituencies in all the districts in a bid to coordinate and mobilise the campaign for Lok Sabha elections.
The top leaders of the two regional parties held a crucial meeting with over 100 party office-bearers from Nongkrem, Mawkynrew and Mawryngkneng- Sohryngkham at Smit.
RDA candidate Robert June Kharjarin was also present at the meeting.
An RDA committee was also formed in three constituencies as was being done in other parts of the Khasi and Jaintia Hills.
“We had a meeting of RDA workers — HSPDP and UDP workers of three constituency, Nongkrem, Mawkynrew and Sohryngkham at Smit, which was chaired by MDC and co-chairman of RDA, Martle Mukhim and attended by all the top leaders and office-bearers of both the parties,” said UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh on Saturday.
Talking about the poll preparedness, Mawthoh said convenors from all districts have been tasked with formation of the RDA committees at the district level.
“We want to have a close coordination between the state, district and constituency level units of the party,” he added.
The UDP had earlier stated that it will focus on its strengthening the RDA during upcoming Lok Sabha elections campaign instead of engaging itself in political duels with rival parties.
UDP reiterates unification
of regional parties
The UDP on the other hand said the unification of the regional parties is a major factor in articulating regional aspirations.
Stating that the UDP and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party, which are the offshoots of APHLC (All Party Hill Leaders’ Conference), have been in existence for many decades, UDP general secretary Jemino Mawthoh said the leaders of the two parties have been stressing for long on the unification factor. He said this is very important to articulate the regional aspirations of people.
“We want to bridge the gap in the relationship between the Centre and the state. What is important is how we articulate regional aspirations at the national level,” Mawthoh said.
“Everyone is talking about ILP (inner line permit), recognition of Khasi and Garo languages, resolution of boundary dispute, development of infrastructure, problem of farmers, border haats and several other issues which we feel need to be addressed,” he said.
He also said that efforts have to be made so the Centre hears the voices and the concerns of the people of the Northeast and the small states.
“We have national parties representing us. For the last 15 years, we have had an MP from the Congress party and we would like to know how far the MP has been able to make a dent in Delhi as far as the issues and the concerns of the people of the state are concerned,” Mawthoh said.
“That is not to say the regional parties do not have a voice. We have had it in the person of GG Swell, who was very vocal and who went on to become Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha,” he said.
“We feel if the regional voices in different states of the country are in unison, they will become a force to reckon with in national politics. We need to be a part of that,” the UDP general secretary stressed.
“We need to understand the federal structure of the country and respect it. It is not that those at the helm of power will dominate. India’s diversity has to be respected,” he added.

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