EDITORIAL | Will change of guard at GHADC put an end to criticisms?



The possibility of extending the term of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) for another six months is likely to happen, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. That was what former District Council Affairs Minister Hamletson Dohling said, though the state cabinet will take the final decision on the matter.

We may note that the GHADC has faced heavy criticism over alleged misappropriation of funds.

This prompted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - an alliance partner of the ruling MDA government in Meghalaya - to write to the Ministry of Finance seeking a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) inquiry into the allegations in the two NPP-ruled ADCs namely the GHADC and the JHADC (Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council).

The situation in the BJP, at present, is not going very well, or so it seems! The differences between the two BJP MLAs namely, A.L Hek and Sanbor Shullai, are clear as day given that the latter wants what the former has but the fight for a cabinet berth is not as easy as it seems.

Hek is adamant in holding on to his post even as he claimed that there were no such discussions or agreements with the ruling alliance or within the party concerning seat sharing.

The infighting within the BJP over the demand for a CBI probe into the allegations of fund embezzlement in the two ADCs is another issue which has grabbed the attention of many.

As the saying goes—the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing—it seems the same situation prevails in the State BJP.

Party sources informed that the cabinet minister and party MLA, A.L Hek, was not aware what the BJP state party president Ernest Mawrie was doing.

Mawrie went in with guns blazing against the NPP over the alleged financial irregularities and threatened to withdraw support from the NPP-led MDA government if it failed to rectify the matter.

It struck the nerves of the NPP leaders who slammed the BJP president for going public with the affairs of the two councils.

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They believed that they should have referred the council affairs to the coordination committee of the alliance partners.

The state BJP had said that they would take up the issue with the central leadership. But the matter was far from being resolved as the party is busy preparing for the 2021 assembly elections in five states including neighbouring Assam.

But, with the cat out of the bag, the government was forced to order the probe into the allegations in the two ADCs.

It’s safe to say that all eyes are fixed on the outcome of the inquiry, though several felt it was just a formality to calm the brewing storm.

With the possibility of the GHADC’s term being extended - a council marred by constant allegations of corruption - problems such as non-payment of salaries will continue to drag on even though many are hoping that a new Executive Committee (EC) will resolve some of the issues.