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Monday, June 24, 2024

Paul breaks silence on Quota issue, slams VPP for “inciting” communal hate

Terming the Voice of the People Party (VPP) movement for an increased share in the quota policy for the Khasi-Jaintia as “political manoeuvring”, Paul Lyngdoh said, “We should not be surprised when political parties indulge in political manoeuvring but there should be a line and we have to define that line. We cannot go on eternally blackmailing people's emotions.”

SHILLONG:

Cabinet Minister and United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Paul Lyngdoh, on June 5, broke his silence on the much-talked about issue – the Reservation Policy – a topic that has been continuously making headlines over the past few weeks.

Terming the Voice of the People Party (VPP) movement for an increased share in the quota policy for the Khasi-Jaintia as “political manoeuvring”, Lyngdoh said, “We should not be surprised when political parties indulge in political manoeuvring but there should be a line and we have to define that line. We cannot go on eternally blackmailing people’s emotions.”

The UDP leader also accused the VPP of not only politicising the issue but inciting communal hate. “They are trying to create mayhem in society… They are trying to meet their terms but we will not allow. We have many patriots. Patriotism is not the monopoly of a single party. There are many people who don’t make noise but they work; there are those who does research on the origin of the Khasis – they invest their time and money to gather information; I feel they are the ones who love the jaidbynriew better than most,” he said.

Stating that people’s sense of priority is wrong, Lyngdoh said, “Our real issues are drug addiction, single mother families, child malnourishment, infant mortality rate, landlessness, etc – these are the issues that concern us. But why don’t they draw crowd? Because they don’t have the elements of instigating hate and not populist.”

“Reservation is not the most important issue. Yes, now there is an expert committee and the all-party meet is in process and we will come out with the best solution – that is when we talk about the reservation policy in isolation but when you look at the wider perspective, unemployment and unemployability are the major issues in Meghalaya,” he said.

Referring to the recent Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) results, the minister said, “Look at Mizoram; despite being a small state, it manages to produce four successful candidates. Why only one from Meghalaya and that too, a non-tribal? We have to ask the right questions – Should we produce people who will be on top of the hierarchy of administration or more peons? You analyse that.”

He further explained that in Meghalaya, there are around 500 vacant posts every year and even if all 500 seats go to the Khasis, the problem of unemployment still persists.

“There are over two lakh youths who are registered with the Employment Exchange office and it would take thousands of years before all them get government jobs. The world at present is talking about Artificial Intelligence and human habitation in Mars but here, we are still protesting and talking about the reservation as the most important issue of the jaidbynriew. What are our ambitions? We have had successful Khasis serving as top government officials like the Chief Election Commissioner of India, ambassadors of India to foreign countries and nuclear scientists serving in the European countries. How should we motivate the youths?” he asked.

Maintaining that there is no dearth of talented youths in the state, Lyngdoh said, “Our people have the calibre but there are some who want to pull the crowd and making them feel that this issue is the matter of life and death for the jaidbynriew. We need to have a perspective vision because a nation without a vision shall perish.”

The UDP leader further ridiculed the VPP and said, “Apparently, they have not fully read the Constitution of India, the fundamental rights and duties, the concept of discriminatory reservation and why the state should play the role of bringing in balance. All these are part of Article 14, 15, 16 till 30 of the Constitution.  They need to engage a constitutional lawyer.”

In his continuous tirade against the VPP, Lyngdoh said that the reason why he was targeted and questioned for being silent was because of the demography of the area.

“Motphran area is the epicentre of all protests. Three constituencies are linked to this area – Mawkhar-Jaiaw (North Shillong), Mawpren (West Shillong) and Mawlai. They (VPP) attained victory in Mawkhar-Jaiaw and Mawlai but not Mawprem. Why? Because it is not easy to speak about the jaidbynriew from Mawprem than in Nongkrem. In Nongkrem, except Madanriting, you speak whatever you want because the population is largely dominated by Khasis unlike Mawprem which has a mixed population,” he said.

He further questioned the motive of the VPP candidate in the recently concluded assembly elections to carry placard outside his house. “Just in the month of March when results were declared, the VPP candidate came fourth after the NPP and BJP. This constituency has chosen bah Paul Lyngdoh – accept the mandate of the people,” he added.

Stating that he has done much more for the jaidbynriew than mere spoken words, Lyngdoh said, “I have signed many files that were in favour of the jaidbynriew and the state but I didn’t feel the need that every time I sign a file, I will go and climb the roof of the secretariat to proclaim that I have done this and that.”

“But in public service, we should act like matured politicians – representatives that have been given the responsibility to speak for the people. If everyone comes and interferes or if they feel that they can do better, let them represent us in the assembly,” he said.

Furthermore, Lyngdoh said, “We have to understand that this is governance which is sacred. It is not a drama competition – to prove who is a hero and who’s the villain. It is about administration, governance, policy-making and most importantly, thought leadership,” adding that it is easy to shout and make noise but it is difficult to act.

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