|Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit and Pyniaid Sing Syiem
Shillong, March 8: Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, the leader of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), today took over as chief executive member of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council at a time when talks on disbanding the councils are doing the rounds.
Basaiawmoit, 41, who represents Nongkrem constituency both in the district council as well as in the Assembly, was elected unopposed to the office after Congress leader Pynshngainlang N. Syiem withdrew from the race at the eleventh hour.
Along with Basaiawmoit, HSPDP member from Sohryngkham, Pyniaid Sing Syiem, 27, was elected unopposed to the deputy chairman’s post.
Pynshngainlang N. Syiem, who represents Mawsynram constituency in both the council and the Assembly, was the Khasi Hills United Democratic Alliance (KHUDA-II) candidate for the chief executive member’s post.
However, before the House met this morning, he submitted a letter to council chairperson Teilinia Thangkhiew informing her he was withdrawing from the race.
He had also served as the chief executive member from August 2010 until Basaiawmoit was elected.
Basaiawmoit, who is also the leader of the All Regional Parties’ Alliance (ARPA), will lead an 11-member executive committee. The committee comprises four members from the United Democratic Party (UDP), and three each from the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and the HSPDP.
Basaiawmoit, in his acceptance speech, assured the council would work for the benefit of the indigenous community and sought the support of all members.
“We have to work according to the powers and functions bestowed upon us. We cannot overstretch beyond our jurisdiction,” he said.
Asking the members to refrain from indulging in defection, which would lead to the eventual collapse of the committee, he said, “How will I navigate the ship if someone perforates it? The mandate of the people has to be respected and we should be allowed to lead for a full five-year term.”
Stating that the agenda of infrastructure development should not gain a high pedestal in the affairs or the council, the HSPDP leader said it was important to give importance to the holistic improvement of the indigenous community.
On the demand for the demolition of district councils, he said it was important to locate the reasons, which have given rise to such demands.
At the same time, he said, people, in general, are turning their attention towards these institutions.