Tura, March 23: National People’s Party candidate Purno Agitok Sangma today toured Meghalaya’s plain belt area of Garo hills which is minority-dominated.
He addressed two rallies at Rajabala and Chibinang which fall under Tura parliamentary seat in the West Garo Hills.
Rajabala constituency is represented by Ashahel D. Shira in the Assembly and Chibinang which falls under Phulbari constituency, is represented by Abu Taheer Mondal.
Shira won the election in 2013 as an Independent candidate and joined the Congress. Mondal, a Congressman, is a first non-tribal Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.
Addressing the rallies, Purno Sangma gave out a clear message and a challenge to chief minister Mukul Sangma, who is yet to tour Garo hills to drum up support for Congress candidate Daryl William Momin.
In charismatic style, Purno Sangma accompanied by Saleng Sangma, a legislator from Gambegre and a former Congress leader, castigated Mukul Sangma’s government for his failure to work for the interest of the minorities.
Speaking in Bangla at both the rallies, Purno Sangma said: “The nation is heading for a change. You have to give a verdict for the change.”
On the proposed ban on minorities to contest and vote in the district council polls, Purno Sangma said: “I will never allow the Congress to do this. For such a move, an amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution has to be made in Parliament. If the BJP or the NDA forms the government, I will ensure that it is opposed tooth and nail.”
On socio-economic status of residents of plain belt areas, Purno Sangma said: “Mukul is busy in developing his own constituency. He is not at all bothered about areas inhabited by the minorities. This is not fair, how can you allow them to rule? Development approach has to be holistic.”
On the militancy situation, which is alarming in Garo hills, Purno Sangma said: “Traders are kidnapped and killed; most have to pay huge ransoms. How long can this continue? Why has Mukul failed to contain insurgency?” Saleng Sangma, an Independent MLA and a former close aide of Mukul Sangma, asked.
“It is time for change,” Saleng Sangma said.