The curtains falling for the ongoing 9th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly with the three day session from December 8, 2017 before the Assembly pronouncement to adjourn sine-die marks the end of an era of Meghalaya Politics as the state take yet another step nearer towards the Golden Jubilee of statehood in the 10th Session as the state goes for General Assembly Election in February tentatively.
The 9th Session could be termed as the worst in terms of developmental works, as the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government in the Centre was blamed for either withholding the Central funding or delaying the release of funds, as the state is ruled by Congress under the leadership of Dr Mukul M Sangma. Hence, most of the schemes are pending or incomplete.
Whereas, the outgoing Congress led Government, Dr Mukul M Sangma is all set to be the second politician to complete full five year term in office, the first being Salseng C Marak (February 19, 1993 to March 10, 1998). At the same time Mukul will also be known as the longest serving Chief Minister for eight consecutive years at a stretch, whereas, there is still no assurance that the 10th Assembly Session will be a stable session to sail the state towards the 50th anniversary of Statehood.
The 9th Session witnessed the largest representation of women representatives, and also had witnessed the first Woman Home Minister (Roshan Warjri).
If the claims of many senior and seasoned politicians are true, the next session will see more youth representatives, as most of the stalwarts are contemplating hanging up their gloves.
The 9th Session too had witnessed two Bye-elections, after the demise of veteran Hopping Stone Lyngdoh and Clifford Marak. The 8th Assembly of Meghalaya that has witnessed two Speakers in its tenure of five years – Bindo M Lanong (UDP) and Speaker Charles Pyngrope (INC). This session had two bye- elections one for Umroi Assembly Constituency and Laitumkhrah Assembly Constituency. President’s Rule was also imposed in the 8th session from March 18, 2009 to May 12, 2009 after a controversial confidence vote secured in the Assembly by the then Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy. Then Speaker B M Lanong suspended five MLAs, who withdrew support to the government, under the Anti-Defection Law ignoring the Governor’s directive that he maintains status quo on the voting rights of members and cast his vote when there was a tie in the 60-member House during division.
The 8th Assembly of Meghalaya lost two members, Former Chief Minister, E M Mawlong (UDP) of Umroi and Masonsing M Sangma (NCP) of Chokpot. As the state goes to vote, two Constituencies remain vacant, the Chokpot seat is yet to be filled and also Tura seat as Former Lok Sabha Speaker, Purno A Sangma resigned to contest the Presidential Election.
The 9th session has provided the most stable government, although a few attempts were made to topple the government which were not successful. This has broken the jinx of topping like the last session where the state witnessed three Chief Ministers – Dr Donkupar Roy (March 19, 2008 to May 12, 2009). Dr D D Lapang (May 13, 2009 to April 19, 2010), and Dr Mukul M Sangma from April 20, 2010 which was his 45th Birthday.
The point to ponder here is once again all eligible citizens will be exercising their franchises. The date for election is expected to be declared by the Election Commission of India soon. However, ground work for most of the candidates started two years back. Soon all the candidates will be conducting house to house campaign to seek vote.
Traditionally, this is the time to seek the progress reports of the elected members. This 45 years old state is about to complete its 9th Assembly session with 20 Chief Ministers having occupied the august seat. One can understand how stable each government has been. The 45 year old state is still striving for proper road communication and proper Health Care. Out of 31 water sources for drinking water, 28 of them are not drinkable. The advent of railway is still a far cry, and the existing Airports, one in Tura and the other in Umroi are just White Elephants.
The unemployment figure is increasing year after year yet most of the Human Resources from the rural areas remain untapped for building up our state. The list will go on; it is futile to speak on the omissions of the state government, because they are voted to power by the masses. The people choose, hence we have to claim responsibility for the failure to develop our state.
Along with next sessions of the Assembly, Meghalaya will turn 50; do we have anything to boast about on Golden Jubilee year? Just two more terms, we will not take the risk to say just two more governments, because the government in Meghalaya is most unstable. We have no one to blame for this because we are the ones who elect our representatives in the Assembly.
The Election Commission of India is spending lavishly to create awareness provoking the conscious of every individual citizen who is eligible to vote. The contemporary youth may not be familiar on how Meghalaya attained the statehood; therefore, one should take this 10th Assembly to introspect on the achievement of the general public, because government is formed by general public.
Take a lesson from here and vote with conviction because the public is supreme when it comes to exercising the franchises. Let us bring a more stable and productive 10th Assembly of Meghalaya.