Disunity of regional parties in Meghalaya has become a chronic disease and it seems that there is no cure at all. At times clarion calls for unity are heard from some quarters which gradually fade away within no time and these have become mere propaganda because of lack of seriousness and sincerity. Talk of preserving unique identity of local indigenous cultures and steps for progress and development in the state are mere lip service for self aggrandisement which are hollow and meaningless. From experience it has been observed that even if unity had been achieved due to public pressure it did not last long and soon the exercise proved futile. When will tribal leaders become mature and talk with deep sense of responsibility and sincerity? People cannot be taken for granted any longer and their patience is running out in this connection, let us not forget the relevant statement: “You can fool some of the people all the time and all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the time”. These words may sound harsh and crude but many will not disagree because they are very true.
Recently HSPDP (Hill State People’s Democratic Party) MLA from 36-Mawkyrwat Assembly Constituency, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar in response to a query on the possible unification of regional parties ahead of 2023 Assembly elections, aired his views very clearly, “As long as we still have so many regional parties, it will be very difficult to strengthen the regional force”. Local indigenous tribals unite only when they are in distress and once purpose is achieved they soon part ways for flimsy reason and start fighting fiercely against each other. The unforgettable and memorable event in the annals of Meghalaya history was the unity of people who preserved for many years under the able leadership of dedicated selfless hill leaders who remained steadfast till the end and refused to fall victim to various alluring temptations from ruling power then. When autonomous state was granted on April 2, 1970 followed by full-fledged statehood on January 21, 1972, it was under stewardship of All Parties Hill Leaders’ Conference (APHLC) which consequently took over reins of administration uninterruptedly for about six-and-a-half years until split in ruling party in 1976 end which brought Indian National Congress (INC) to power. The long cherished dream for unity of regional parties came as thunder from the blues on March 1, 1978, immediately after results of general elections were announced which cemented three regional parties, namely, APHLC, HSPDP and PDIC (Public Demand Implementation Committee) and hence formation of 3-Flag Government. Many important public figures were much involved as they too pressured that regional parties understood local feelings, aspirations and desires of the newly born hill state better but to no avail because within a period of slightly more than a year the alliance disintegrated.
Next general election, 2023 to the state assembly is approaching and during these few months left respective candidates and parties will come out to solicit votes and support. Prime importance at this juncture is for public in general and voters in particular to be aware of their rights and privileges and to do the needful.