SHILLONG, Jul 17: Amidst speculations and predictions, the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly turned into busy polling booth on Monday as legislators were seen casting their votes to elect the 14th President of India.
While speculations on maximum votes for UPA presidential candidate Meira Kumar is doing the rounds in the state, some state congress and independent legislators were however, not present during the voting.
Those who have already casted their votes on early Monday morning include — Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, Cabinet Ministers — Sniawbhalang Dhar, Zenith Sangma, Deborah Marak, HDR Lyngdoh and senior leaders of the state like DD Lapang and Salseng C Marak.
It may be reminded that while Meira Kumar received full support from the state Congress, NDA candidate Ramnath Kovind however, received the support of opposition party, UDP and NPP though the HSPDP is out of the frame following its decision to skip the poll. The HSPDP has four MLAs in the house of sixty legislators in the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Speaking to media persons soon after casting his vote, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma said that it will be interesting to see how MLAs from other political parties decide on their choice because the decision of member of the Electoral College would indicate their endorsement of agendas of the NDA and UPA.
“It will be interesting to see how this will turn out to be as decision of any member to vote for BJP led candidate will be endorsement of agendas of NDA and RSS,” Dr Sangma said.
Slamming the ‘religious-centric’ agenda of the NDA government, the chief minister said that the country is facing many forcible challenges due to the agendas which are being pursued by the NDA Government. “See what is happening in this country precisely because of the agenda of the NDA driven group — Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” he added.
Commenting on the efforts of the BJP to make inroads into the Northeast, Sangma admitted that the saffron party is trying to piggy ride on regional parties of the state to make inroads in Meghalaya as they want to rid the state of the Congress.
Stating that the BJP agenda is threatening the fabric of democracy in the country, Sangma said the situation has definitely changed in the country and small ethnic tribal groups of the North East are now faced with multiple existential threats.
“Our personal liberty is under threat and their (RSS) agendas are being pursued by NDA Government one after another,” Sangma said while alleging that the agendas of RSS was a long drawn plan and it existed post independence which ultimately led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi.
Reacting to the refusal of HSPDP to participate in the polling process, the chief minister assumed that the HSPDP backed out simply because they didn’t to approve the agenda of the RSS and BJP. He however, imply that the HSPDP could have voted for Meira Kumar as the same would according to him would mean “Standing firmly with those whose principle and ideologies has enabled to drive the vibrant democracy and withstand the test of time.”
NDA candidate, former Bihar Governor Ram Nath Kovind and UPA candidate, former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar are in the race to win the top post in country and secure a comfortable place at Raisina Hills.
The legislators who skipped the polling process included — PWD (Roads) Minister, MM Danggo and independent MLA from Khliehriat, Justine Dkhar who cited personal problems as the reason for their absence.
Meanwhile, Mawhati MLA Julias Dorphang who is currently under police custody also did not took part in the voting.
And finally, four MLAs of the HSPDP as was their decision to boycott the Presidential polls.