With elections in the air, it is common that most newspaper tend to give more coverage to political stories over another. While there are new people giving out statements against or for their parties, newspapers and media houses need to be sensitive and aware that many of these stories are often inadvertently given too much attention which they don’t merit.
The classic case is that of the national secretary of BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha, Hayithung Bill Lotha calling Meghalaya CM Dr Mukul Sangma the most corrupt Chief Minister in India. Hailing from a state which has legitimized horse trading and corruption across all parties, Mr Lotha perhaps forgot to include Nagaland in the map of India.
While I certainly do not hold brief for Mukul Sangma and nor do I believe that he should be re-elected as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya , it does bother me when a leading newspaper from Shillong gives such an inconsequential person first page coverage.
Would a Nagaland Post or a Morung Express given the same mileage to a small time politician from Meghalaya the same honour? I doubt it.
Mr Lotha also went on to say that he was willing to debate for 5 hours on corruption with Mukul Sangma as he ‘dared’ the Chief Minister. Would he do the same with Rio? (whose son in law was arrested with over 7 crores in a pvt plane during the demonitization period) or with Zeiliang who has been accused of scores of scam . Would his apathy and anger towards corruption lead him to question why the roads in Nagaland are at best pitiful?
I agree and concede that under Mukul Sangma, Meghalaya has stagnated in the last few years. But Meghalaya has remained somewhat better off than states like Mr Lotha’s Nagaland or even Arunachal Pradesh for that matter.
BJP, which was looking to make inroads in the state should now concentrate in looking inwards instead of acquiring disgruntled leaders from the Congress to build its own base. They should also look at NPP which is an ally of the NDA in the centre to understand that in states like Meghalaya, regional voices and issues are important .
Conrad Sangma has successfully ensured that he remains distant from BJP to remain more credible to his voters who view BJP with suspicion.
He has also raised local issues and despite attacking Mukul Sangma, he has not burnt his bridges with the Congress leadership in centre by not speaking out against Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Even the HSPDP and UDP have maintained their distance from the BJP and all the talk of an united opposition has all but disappeared.
Finally a word of advice to some of the leading newspapers which give trivial leaders front page news- the people of Shillong can read between the lines. Do not lose your credibility which has taken years and decades to build. Yours is a sacred institution and diluting it because of the personal hatred towards a individual will only harm your credibility in the long run.
And Mr Lotha you are most welcome for your 15 minutes of publicity which we gave you through our leading newspaper.
Sebastian S Connor