SHILLONG: As Khasi Hills and Jaintia Hills is set to go to by-polls tomorrow (December 13), all eyes are set on whether this ADC by-poll will help decide the fate of various political parties (both national and regional) in the state.
Less we forget, altogether, 33 candidates will contest the December 13 Council elections to six KHADC seats and one JHADC seat.
Only 1 and half year is left for the state to go to polls and it seems all the regional parties in the state are all geared up for the same, and this is evident from the day to day affairs of the parties as they step up their game by visiting and campaigning in the remote corners of the state, trying to woo the locals into their parties besides other tactics like renovating and repairing the deplorable roads and other infrastructure while also trying hard to fulfill their promises made 5 years ago.
The entrance of the BJP in the MDCs elections has also raised many an eyebrows. Even though, the congress expresses confidence over the upcoming by-polls to the KHADC and JHADC, hopes however hangs in balance for the party in the 2018 assembly polls as disappointed and unhappy MLAs and MDCs hints on boarding the saffron bus.
Recently, general secretary of the BJP Meghalaya Unit, David Kharsati was optimistic for a win. “We have the right candidates and we are hopeful for a win,” he added.
“Political mud- slinging will eventually destroy the very fabric of the district council. We stand against such mediocre translation of the constitutional safeguard for the tribal citizens of the state,” Kharsati said while defending the BJP’s stance for taking active part in the ADCs by-poll.
The campaigning for the December 13 which ended on Sunday witnessed a strong battle between regional parties as they claimed to revive the functioning of the district councils even as they swore to work for the benefit of the tribal communities of the state.
During the campaign, the candidates for the KHADC seats highlighted strengthening of the District Council’s laws, MUDA’s encroachment and empowerment of women as mentioned by the lone woman contestant (BJP’s Mamiry Nongkhlaw), reclaiming indigenous ownership rights over land and other issues pertinent to the respective constituency.
From Nongspung-Sohiong constituency are Kyntiewborlang Syiemlieh (BJP), Nathaniel Osbert Rymmai (Congress), Pret Mawlong (Independent), Samlin Malngiang (HSPDP) and Wankupar Syiemlieh (UDP).
Meanwhile, candidates vying for the seat from Nongkrem constituency included Edarstar Lyngdoh Nongbri (KHNAM), HS Shylla (UDP), Hubert Ford Riang (HSPDP), Lamborsing Nongrum (INC) and Mamiry Nongkhlaw (BJP).
Laban-Mawprem constituency candidates include Allowis Dohtdong (Independent), Bankhrawsing Kharbuli (KHNAM), Banrikupar Wahlang (HSPDP), Frederick Joplang Lyngshiang (UDP), Hubert Marbaniang (BJP) and Ricky Shullai (NCP), Sanbor Shullai’s nephew.
For Rambrai-Jyrngam constituency, Kimfa Marbaniang (Congress), World Champion Paliar (HSPDP), Denestar Pariong (BJP) and Morningstar Tympuin (UDP) will battle for the MDC seat.
In Pariong-Mawthadraishan constituency, the candidates in fray are Ionis Lyngdoh (Congress), Blangstar Warjri (HSPDP), Thunder Warjri (BJP) and Pyndapbor Lyngdoh Marshillong (KHNAM). For the Nongkhlaw-Mairang seat, the candidates are Councillor Sing Wahlang (BJP), Alex Kharsyntiew (HSPDP), Lambok Nongrang (Congress) and Equator Nongrang (UDP).
The four candidates in fray for the War East seat are former JHADC chief Lamdibok Sumer (Congress), Losing Lakuna (Independent) and two first-time candidates – Firstborn Manner (UDP) and Smenlang Kyndait (BJP).
While other party supremo’s like HSPDP and UDP are rallying behind their candidates during the election campaigns, Congress leader and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, however, chooses to stay away from campaigning for the Congress candidates.
There will be 232 polling stations for the KHADC elections while JHADC will have 18 polling stations for the Council elections. A total number of 1,46,544 voters in the KHADC elections and 6,739 for the JHADC will decide the fate of the candidates.
The campaigning went without any major riffs; there was however, a complaint on the part of the UDP who alleged that HSPDP violated the model code of conduct by allowing the interview of HSPDP chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit to be telecasted in the local channels on Sunday evening, after the campaign ended at 4 pm.
While eyes are fixed on the outcome of the by-polls, parties are eagerly waiting for the results scheduled to be declared on December 16, even as they consider the ADC by polls as a run up to the 2018 assembly polls in Meghalaya.
The by-poll was necessitated after seven MLAs resigned from the post of MDCs last year following the passing of the Prevention of Disqualification (Members of Legislative Assembly of Meghalaya) (Amendment) Act, 2015, which seeks to end holding of dual posts by the MLAs.
Interestingly, there seemed to be not much of a hype during the campaigning and the reason of course might differ. The state is under a cold wrap of unenthusiastic happenings and display unlike the loud yester years where the run up to the ADC’s and Assembly elections and bye-polls is visibly loud.
“The silence is not because a political storm is brewing, but it is the aftershocks of the demonetization move of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” said Former congress legislator turned Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MDC, Antonio War.
Echoing similar sentiments, United Democratic Party, (UDP) General Secretary Jeminio Mawthoh when enquired about the reason for the quietness said “It is the demonetization effect”.
The question that arises is whether the same attitude will be noticeable 1 year from now or whether the demonetization effect will continue to linger on or whether it will like other movements die out in a short span of time?