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Meghalaya parties bank on old issues

- Lacklustre poll campaign pretold

Shillong, June 26: A dearth of relevant issues to be raised in the run-up to the Assembly elections scheduled for early next year is a cause for worry among political parties in Meghalaya.

Many political parties in the state still have to bank on the old issues of border dispute, lack of development in rural areas and law and order problems. While the ruling Congress maintained that it will highlight the performance of the last five years, the coalition parties have already started attacking the government for the worsening law and order situation in Garo hills.

The UDP working president, Paul Lyngdoh, recently said the government led by Mukul Sangma had failed to improve law and order in Garo hills and pointed to the rise in militancy in those three districts.

However, the chief minister said he would reply to these issues at an appropriate time. He had in the past said that militancy was not a new issue and the previous government had also faced the same problems.

Many political parties have also raised the issue of border dispute with Assam. The chief minister had said the border dispute issue was a long-standing one and his government had made efforts to solve the issue by holding a series of meeting with Assam.

The regional entity, Hill State People’s Democratic Party, will highlight the need to form a Khasi state during electoral campaigns, which, however, are not new on the agenda. Party president H.S. Lyngdoh held several public meetings in the past to reiterate the need to form a Khasi state.

The state BJP is yet to reveal any agenda of the party in the run-up to the Assembly elections. The BJP general secretary, Dipayan Chakraborty, said since the BJP did not have any legislator, the party would raise issues concerning the people outside the Assembly.

“We are concerned over the current scenario where there is hardly any criticism of the poor performance of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government,” Chakraborty said. Since the state BJP is part of the government, it is not able to raise the relevant issues concerning the people of the state, he added.

The BJP leader said their party is preparing a vision document 2025 to highlight various needs of the state. “Other than our manifesto, the vision document will be a guide which will reveal the focus areas of development in the state,” he said.


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