Political Parties should keep interest of masses before manifesto

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Voters in queue. File photo.

The fever for April 11, 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Meghalaya is picking up its tempo. The heat is mostly being felt for the Tura Parliamentary Seat between the National People’s Party (NPP) candidate Agatha Kongkal Sangma and former Chief Minister Dr Mukul Manda Sangma of Indian National Congress. The Shillong Parliamentary seat will witness four corner contest; however, the main contest will be between sitting MP, Vincent H. Pala, who is seeking reelection for the third term, and his opponent Jemino Mawthoh (UDP), the common candidate of Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).

Till the final date of withdrawal of candidates, the guessing game will continue regarding the prediction for electing the members to the 17th session of the Lok Sabha, while the State Election Department is burning mid night lamp making sure nothing goes wrong for the largest festival of democracy in the world. The election training for all the agents is still on at the last moment, which also talks a lot about the preparedness of the government machineries.

Government administration does not mean only paper work. Both the bureaucrats and the legislators in Meghalaya are simply performing their daily duties without any innovative methods to simplify the work culture to benefit the masses. State government should understand its weak and strong points, and perform accordingly. More so, Agatha had earlier held the office of Minister of State for Rural Development (May 2009 – October 2012) and Vincent held the office as Minister of State for Water Resources (May 28, 2009 – October 27, 2012) in the Parliament, yet the expected development, especially the structural infrastructure, could not be seen.

The 47-year-old Meghalaya has witnessed Chief Ministers changing over 22 times; it is the painful truth that the Chief Minister literary has to stand with folded hands in front of the Central Government pleading for even a meager increase in the annual budget allotted to the state by the Planning Commission, whereas states like Kerala or Karnataka or Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra simply ‘instruct’ the Central Government to sanction their schemes and provide increased Plan funds.

In order to gain the trust of the central government, Meghalaya needs to perform, do its homework to tap the natural resources and its strength, and then approach the Centre for the additional funds needed to implement development activities and also take care of the burgeoning administrative machinery.

For how long can a state be dependent on dole outs by the Centre by way of Plan and Non Plan funds? When will we become self-sufficient? Are we asking for the moon when we talk of self-sufficiency since the state has no other revenue except from the Excise and taxation department?

Meghalaya should take advantage of the situation and put forward the mandates for the political parties to inform the masses how they will take the issues forward, if elected.

The basic necessities like road connectivity, telecommunication network, education and health care are still a distant dream for the rural villages, yet the main debates at the election rallies and campaigns only stress on who is forming the next government. None speaks about their vision to serve if elected to the Parliament.

Other states like Assam, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh are all casting their votes based on performance. It is sad to note that in Meghalaya it is still based on party politics and personal charisma. It is time to wake up and demand for results from the elected representatives, and not to be fooled once more.

The public has the right to oppose the candidate for attempting to reach the Parliament by defaming the opponent on personal attacks, and not on non-performance. How many voters are going through the manifestoes and agenda of individual political parties to decide on who deserves the vote? Sadly, very few examine such important documents which will decide the fate of the state for the next five years.

As mentioned, it is strange to note that none of the voters have vision and demands from the candidate. As the candidate goes from door to door canvassing, none will instruct the candidate to perform. Vote for the performing candidate and vote out the one who tries to make a fortune for self in election process. Failing to do so now, such section of the public also loses their right to complain latter.

Seek and demand for qualified candidate of respective political parties or even the Independent Candidate who are the visionaries, planners, and have the will to take their constituency forward and also provide good governance for the remaining five years. All should participate and come out to vote, because the fate of the state for the next five years depends on every single vote.