Shillong, Jan. 6: The move by the United Democratic Party (UDP) to put up a common candidate for the Lok Sabha polls from the Shillong parliamentary constituency has been stymied with the People’s Candidate Forum (PCF), a conglomerate of like-minded citizens, deciding to field Rev. P.B.M. Basaiawmoit for the elections.
Polls to the Lok Sabha are likely to be held in April-May this year. The UDP had consulted like-minded political parties and groups for setting up a common candidate to take on the Congress.
In a letter addressed to Allan F. Dkhar, secretary, UDP campaign committee, by Joannes J.T.L. Lamare, PCF general secretary, today stated that the forum could no longer revisit its decision to field Rev. Basaiawmoit
“On December 30, 2013, a meeting of the forum decided to put up Basaiawmoit as its candidate. Basaiawmoit has also accepted the offer to be the forum’s candidate for the Lok Sabha polls,” Lamare said.
Rev. Basaiawmoit, a prominent figure of the Presbyterian Church, will also be the chief campaigner for the polls, he added.
Lamare reiterated the forum’s offer to all political parties to support Rev. Basaiawmoit’s candidature.
Rev. Basaiawmoit had unsuccessfully contested the 2009 Lok Sabha polls from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP). Congress nominee Vincent H. Pala had then emerged triumphant with a landslide victory.
In an interaction with The Telegraph as to whether he would associate himself with Arvind Kejriwal’s Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Rev. Basaiawmoit countered, “Isn’t the People’s Candidate Forum same as the Aam Aadmi?”
He also said there could be similarities in certain issues and concerns in relation to corruption, transparency in governance, doing away with a colonial legacy, accountability to people, making service and social sectors available to the majority, but there may be “ideological differences”.
According to Rev. Basaiawmoit, the “ideological differences” with AAP could be in the realm of economic policy.
“Is it pro-corporate or pro-people? Is it for globalisation at the expense of environment, local/domestic entrepreneur, produce and products? These are some of the basics,” he said.
The AAP has been creating waves across the country ever since it won 28 out of the 70 seats in the Delhi Assembly. But while neighbouring Assam is agog with the jhadu (broom), the Kejriwal effect is yet to be felt in Meghalaya.
Kejriwal, who had delivered a speech in Shillong during the third national convention on Right To Information (RTI) in March 2011, rose to prominence in Delhi during Anna Hazare’s intense campaign for a strong anti-corruption law.