Tura, March 28: Thousands of villagers from different parts of East Garo Hills today converged at Williamnagar to hear Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma speak at an election rally for the Tura parliamentary seat.
Mukul is campaigning for Congress candidate Daryl William Momin, who is pitted against veteran National People’s Party leader Purno Agitok Sangma.
Tura goes to the polls on April 9. Williamnagar is a Congress stronghold, represented by social welfare minister Deborah C. Marak.
There were many with high hopes and expectations, as they were listening patiently.
Nearly 5,000 people gathered at the Rongrengre ground in Williamnagar. Though Mukul Sangma did not highlight the government’s action plan for accelerated growth, he promised to hold discussions to resolve pending issues.
Citing various government projects which have been completed, the chief minister reinforced the commitment of the Congress to improving education, rural infrastructure and thrust on agriculture.
Accusing the Opposition of misleading the people, he said, “The Purno Sangma-led government in 2008 had scrapped many ambitious government projects and is now saying that my government is a failure”.
He even branded Purno as “Promise-all Sangma” saying, “I will keep my promise and agenda for holistic development of Meghalaya.”
For people in East Garo Hills, the core issue remains a lack of development.
Though the government has launched welfare programmes, people in remote areas are yet to receive optimum benefit.
A village headman, Sokman Marak said, “We have constructed an approach road to our village under MGNREGA scheme, but it is yet to be black-topped. Our village depends mainly on agriculture and in the absence of good connectivity to nearby markets, we have to literally walk miles to sell our agricultural produce.”
A resident of Williamnagar, Victor Sangma, said, “We have little expectations from the government. We would be happy if the long-pending bridge over Simsang river is completed. The government has promised to complete the bridge this year.”
Mikseng Arengh, an educated unemployed youth, said, “It does not matter who forms the government at the Centre or who wins from Tura parliamentary seat. We expect that the government to be committed to providing jobs to educated youths in Garo hills.”