Thursday, July 18, 2024

VPP arrives; NPP annihilated


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After 44 years a regional party – the Voice of Peoples’ Party (VPP) has been able to breach the citadel of the national parties to enter the august portals of the Lok Sabha through the phenomenal victory of its candidate Dr Ricky A J Syngkon who has surpassed all other MPs in terms of the winning margin at 3,71910. The last person to have been elected from the All Party Hill Leaders’ Conference (APHLC) in 1980 was Bajubon Kharlukhi. Before that Hopingstone Lyngdoh of the Hill State Peoples’ Democratic Party (HSPDP) was elected in 1977. It was evident that there was anger brewing among the masses owing to gross deprivation of their basic necessities which they attribute to poor governance and corruption. The voters have responded by giving a decisive victory to the VPP candidate primarily because the party has vowed to tackle corruption and provide clean governance. The NPP is identified with the purported ‘high level’ who call the shots in the government and who are seen to be flaunting their wealth in a state that is the third poorest in the country and where 37% of people are stated to be living below poverty line (NFHS-5). There is a point beyond which people will not tolerate political apathy and high-handedness or indeed the insensitive and conceited assertions of Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong at different platforms. Now it is for the VPP to prove itself as a pro-people party and give voice to their concerns. The word ‘people’ is also in the nomenclature of the NPP. But in the real world no political party really consults people in policy-making. Will the VPP lead the way in this democratic process?
Also the VPP has to now decide who to align with at the national level since a regional party with a single MP would have to close ranks and align with the parties that are closest to its ideology. For now the choice is the NDA or the INDI Alliance. The VPP has not publicly spelt out its options. The annihilation of the NPP which is leading the coalition government in Meghalaya is now complete. Both its candidates were routed with the Shillong candidate faring a poor third. The Congress party was able to rejuvenate itself and win the Tura seat. Gauging from the spontaneous support that Saleng Sangma was able to garner it was evident that the people of Garo Hills were with him. In both seats the NPP’s alliance with the BJP – a party that is overtly communal, anti-minority and oppressive to the extreme in its assault on personal freedoms and its propensity to quash voices of dissent in its 10-year rule.
It would be in the best interests of Meghalaya if the VPP and Congress were to speak in unison and draw the attention of the central government to the development lacunae in the state amongst other concerns. People have voted for a change and they yearn to see that change in action!

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