| KHADC chief executive member Pynshngaiñlang N. Syiem speaks during the special session of the council in Shillong on Saturday. Picture by UB Photos |
Shillong, Dec. 14: An amendment rule seeking the realignment of constituencies in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council was passed today during a special session of the council here in spite of opposition and tearing up of the copy of the rule by an agitated member.
Council chief executive member Pynshngainlang N. Syiem tabled the KHADC (Constitution of District Council) (amendment) Rules 2013 for amending the principal rule of Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (constitution of district council) Rules, 1951.
The amended rule was placed in the House along with the list of 29 realigned constituencies recommended by the delimitation committee, constituted according to the advice of Meghalaya governor K.K. Paul.
“The executive committee of the council has decided to accept the report submitted by the delimitation committee,” Syiem told the house and sought support of members to pass the amendment rule.
KHADC member Carmelstone Sohtun, who represents the Laitkroh constituency, along with members belonging to the Opposition Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) rejected the amendment. While the discussion on the rule was in progress, Sohtun stood up and tore a copy of the amendment. “You can do whatever you like, but I totally disagree with you,” he said.
Sohtun’s Laitkroh constituency will be most affected by the amendment since many areas under the constituency would be tagged with other constituencies. According to the new arrangement, Laitkroh has been merged with Langkyrdem constituency and the new constituency will be named Langkyrdem-Laitkroh constituency. The merging of the two constituencies will also see the birth of Umsning as a new constituency from Ri Bhoi district. KHNAM leader and member of the council, Adelbert Nongrum, said his party cannot accept the delimitation exercise since the delimitation committee conducted public hearings only in the district headquarters of the four districts — Shillong for East Khasi Hills, Nongstoin for West Khasi Hills, Mawkyrwat for South West Khasi Hills and Nongpoh for Ri Bhoi district — instead of public hearings in all the 29 constituencies. “The public hearing and the exercise carried out was only a formality. We cannot approve this kind of a dictatorial move which has been done in a hurried manner, as the sole objective of rearranging the constituencies was to suit the interests of certain politicians and not the people,” Nongrum alleged. He demanded the forthcoming council polls in February be conducted according to the existing arrangement.
Despite the protest by Opposition members, council chairman Fabian Lyngdoh called for a voice vote to decide the fate of the proposed amendment. The House later passed the rule with support of the members of the ruling coalition, the Khasi Hills United Democratic Alliance (KHUDA), which is led by the Congress.
The ruling members suggested minor corrections like misspelling of names of some villages, missing villages and repetition of villages in the list of constituencies recommended by the delimitation committee. Strangely, two Congress members of the ruling coalition, Celestine Lyngdoh and Lambor Malngiang, left the House prior to voting.
After the session, Syiem told reporters that the executive committee would submit the amended rule to the governor through the district council affairs department on Monday. “The governor will take a final call,” he added.