Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Lavish Finance Minister of poor Meghalaya

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Editor,
Meghalaya extended its sluggish pace of development in the last 6 years plus since we have a Lavish Finance Minister in an otherwise poor State. I am stunned by the terribly bad economics of the MDA-2 Government of Meghalaya. The misplaced priorities and expansionist agenda of its main coalition partner has added to the poor state of affairs in the development front. In a poor State like Meghalaya, MDA-2 could spend Rs 9 crores in Cherry Blossom Festival of 3 days, few crores of rupees in Shillong Literary Festival of 3 days, Rs 23 crores in Meghalaya Games of 5 days; not sure how many crores are sunk in the repair of Umiam dam and now, if reports are true, Rs 150 crores for 300 CCTVs at a cost of Rs. 50 lakhs per CCTV camera. If this report is true, it is an blatant and gross misuse of public money and friends don’t be surprised if it becomes another scam in the kitty of the MDA government.
We can only wish that if Modi ji through the ED, IT department and CBI could have focused on its main coalition partners in Meghalaya in the last 10 years rather than only on the Mamtas, Kejriwals and Sorens, we could have been saved from wastage of limited public money and some of our ministers would also have been in jail by now, perhaps on substantiated charges. But then, a party that has received Rs. 8251.8 crores from corporate houses through an opaque funding tool, itself has a lot to answer to the public of India. As disclosed by the Election Commission of India on March 17, 2024, this quantum of fund was received by the BJP through electoral bonds, since the inception of the scheme in March 2018, until the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional in February 2024. Naturally, the BJP cannot be expected to act like a party of saints and yet it continues to indulge in selective targeting wherever it suits them politically. Meghalaya is truly caught between the devil and the deep sea.
Yours etc.
Prof. Lakhon Kma
Shillong-4

Of inner-party democracy
Editor,
The editorial “Congress’s default position” (ST May 7, 2024) made interesting reading. The editor has rightly pointed out the default position of the INC. Inner-party democracy refers to the democratic functioning within political parties, including processes like internal elections, decision-making, and transparency. The Indian Constitution does not explicitly outline rules for controlling the behaviour of political parties. Only Section 29A (5) of the Representation of the People Act 1951 (RPA) requires political parties to be registered with the Election Commission of India (ECI). This registration is based on their performance in polls, and the ECI recognizes them as national or state parties for electoral purposes. Neither Article 324 of the Constitution nor Section 29A of the RPA explicitly empowers the ECI to control the internal organizations, structures, or election of political parties. Consequently, very little information regarding internal elections is provided to the ECI by the parties or We the people at large.
Challenges and trends within the INC.
The Indian National Congress, like many other parties, faces the challenge of dynastic politics. Family members of top party officials often contest elections, leading to “families” constituencies. This phenomenon has resulted in the lack of internal party democracy. The distribution of election tickets sometimes reflect nepotism, resulting in many Members of Parliament (MPs) coming from political families, especially those under the age of 35. The INC’s internal workings are not always transparent, and the candidate selection process may lack clarity. The Indian National Congress has a long history of ruling this country for more than 54 years and has played a significant role in India’s politics but the extent of inner-party democracy within the party remains a subject of debate.
Challenges and trends within the BJP.
The BJP conducts internal elections, as do the Left parties which allows party members to participate in electing leaders and office bearers. However, the extent of inner-party democracy within the BJP can vary. Some argue that it is more centralized, with strong leadership influence, while others highlight its democratic processes. Like many other parties, the BJP also faces the challenge of dynastic politics. Family members of top party officials often contest elections, leading to “family” constituencies. The distribution of election tickets sometimes reflects nepotism, resulting in MPs coming from political families, especially those under the age of 35. The BJP’s internal workings are not always transparent, and decision-making processes are not fully disclosed. The BJP has a brief history of ruling this country for more than 16 years and does hold internal elections but the overall level of inner-party democracy remains a subject of debate.
Inner-party democracy is crucial for promoting inclusivity, participation, and effective decision-making within political parties. It ensures that power is distributed among party functionaries, allowing diverse voices to be heard. Inner-party democracy is essential and must coexist with effective leadership. Checks and balances are designed to prevent hasty decisions but ensure broad support. In order to ensure that there is inner-party democracy, perhaps, the time has come to amend Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 29A (9) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 so that it empowers the ECI to seek information regarding transparent internal elections of political parties in India that indicate the nature of elections whether they are closed ballots or unanimous nomination and election; how many delegates voted for which position and who were these delegates. Only then can we truly call India a democracy and celebrate the dance of democracy or else we remain a flawed democracy.
Yours etc;
VK Lyngdoh,
Via email

Staring at climate crisis
Editor,
Climatologists and environmental experts have predicted the potent danger of the gradual loss of the ozone layer that protects and acts as a layer from the ultra violet rays of the sun. They have also come up with calculative projections of environmental dangers created by human interventions like deforestation, unscientific mining of ground resources, high utilization of fossil fuels and rampant ground water extraction, leading to drinking water crisis. The rise in temperatures across the country should come as no surprise. Even in the North Eastern region which is a biodiversity hotspot, if no proper long-term efforts are pursued to put in place mechanisms for effective control against all sorts of man-made destruction of water sources through rampant mining and quarrying; high levels of air pollution and the cutting down of forests we are staring at a dangerous scenario. Perhaps the Government should go back to basics and rethink or re-ignite the Water Policy and take a pledge to reduce the anthropogenic activities that hasten climate change, before it’s too late.
Yours etc..
Dominic S. Wankhar,
Via email

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