The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government on Thursday invited the Voice of the People Party (VPP) chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, who is on an indefinite hunger strike to demand immediate review of the 1972 job reservation policy, for talks.
Basaiawmoit began the hunger strike on May 23.
Minister in-charge Health and Family Welfare and spokesperson of the MDA government Ampareen Lyngdoh requested Basaiawmoit to come to the negotiating table and discuss what the party wants to get done.
She, however, said she could not promise anything without first understanding what Basaiawmoit wants.
Lyngdoh, who is also chairperson of the committee on roster system, said that if the VPP chief stopped hunger strike it would be good for everyone. “We can get together and discuss this matter and see how best we can get beyond this without harming anyone of the communities. There are three communities in the state and we would like to safeguard everybody’s interest,” she said.
Expressing concern about the health condition of the Nongkrem MLA, Lyngdoh said that she also wanted to see him and find out how he was doing although she has asked doctors to keep her posted about his wellbeing, she told reporters.
“He is a member of the legislative Assembly and we cannot afford to see one of our colleagues go through,” the minister said while adding she did not want to talk about his agenda because she had not seen it.
When asked, the spokesperson said that the government had not received anything in writing from the VPP on its proposal.
“We are just watching and waiting for these communications to be clearer before we can even decide what the crux of this matter is as nothing in writing has ever come to the government till today,” she said while asking for the proposal without which no decision could be taken.
“If at all a policy has to be reviewed, there has to be a mandate, there has to be a reason, and as of today the only reason being put forward to our government is to make sure that the reservation policy has a guideline which is a roster. You may agree with the roster, you may disagree with the roster proposal, if you do not communicate in black and white what you want to say it is difficult for us to know what you want us to do,” she said.
The minister that the very fact the government has had consultation with political parties is an indicator that “we are asking political parties for their opinions, what is it that they think, what is it that should change, whether these proposals are feasible, are they going to be fair, are they going to be acceptable to all.”