As polling ends in Meghalaya, administrative work takes a back seat

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As Re-polling is underway on April 15, 2019 at the Konarchar Polling station in the by-poll to Meghalaya’s Selsella Assembly constituency, having a total of 712 voters, the claims and counter-claims by all parties for the Lok Sabha General Election for Tura and Shillong Parliamentary constituency held on April 11 are heating up. Meanwhile, the official works are affected as all Cabinet ministers are still having the hangover of election.

It may be recalled that the re-poll was necessitated as the electorate of this polling booth cast their votes in the EVM meant for the Lok Sabha poll instead of Assembly by-poll during polling on April 11 last.

Selsella constituency falls under the Tura parliamentary seat in the Garo Hills area in western Meghalaya. The by-election was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress legislator Clement Marak on October 8, 2018.

Marak’s widow June Eliana R. Marak is contesting the by-poll on the Congress ticket against the ruling National People’s Party (NPP) Ferlin C.A. Sangma, the United Democratic Party’s  (UDP) Sayeedullah Nongrum and the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Adorsho Sangma.

Meghalaya, together with 20 states and Union Territories, was the first to go to Lok Sabha polls, and needs to wait for over forty days for the verdict on May 23, next. While the Code of Conduct was imposed on the day of announcement of poll dates, it is expected that immediately after the votes were cast, there will be relaxation; whereas many of the government’s day to day affairs have been affected. Particularly, execution of new schemes and projects and most of the Treasury payment were delayed due to the Code of Conduct.

Now that even the By-poll is over, it is expected that the government should resume its normal duties as most of the staff deployed for election duties have returned back to their respective stations. Above that, the Holy Week has begun with the Palm Sunday, coupled with the state holiday, means it will be yet another unproductive week ahead.

As the work resumes in the following week, all the political activities should be put to rest in the state of Meghalaya. It is time to streamline the preparations for the upcoming 39th National Games 2022, which will also coincide with the celebration of the 50th year of Meghalaya’s statehood.

It is also time that government starts to scout promising and upcoming talents so that the state can put up a good show and rank in the final medals tally in the Games. The Sports department has to start nurturing such talents as early as possible and provide them best of facilities and training to ensure good results and not over-exhaust or leave the athletes undertrained as the door step of the event.

The government must keep in mind that the mega event is not just for hosting an event but an opportunity to show and market Meghalaya. If done well, the event can act as an catalyst to boost the tourism which will lead to employment for many youth.

Hopefully the upcoming National Games 2022 will be a turning point for the youth to focus on constructive development, both in terms of human resources and the forces with sporting sprit to competence in all aspects of activities.

As for the government, the Game Village – like that of Assam, and overhauling of State Sports and Youth Affairs department to execute the task will have to be the priority.