Meghalaya ‘the abode of clouds’, is known for receiving the highest amount of rainfall in India. The population of Meghalaya is somewhat around 32.11 lacs(approx), and the state has been governed by Dr.Mukul Sangma since 2010.
Meghalaya has been a politically unstable state since it was carved out of Assam in 1972. This has made the state pioneer government saving strategies such as choosing a chief minister by lottery, splitting a five-year term equally between two parties with the toss of a coin to decide which party would rule first and making the lone independent MLA the chief minister. The elected governments in Meghalaya have however not been able to complete their tenure of five years but among the few who could complete their term of office, mention has to be made of Dr. Mukul Sangma. The legacy of shakiness got to incumbent chief minister Mukul Sangma who heads the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance government.
THE ELECTION SEASON
Meghalaya is gradually gearing up for the 2018 assembly election. The atmosphere is all set and Mukul is spirited to lead the state yet again and secure the status of the Congress party. However, the fight this time is not easy. BJP is making its pitch loud and clear and with the current wins in Northeastern states, the party is all set to make an impact. The regional forces especially United Democratic Party(UDP) and National People’s Party(NPP) which is an ally of the BJP led NDA at the center is making their independent claims to thwart the Congress rule in the state, which seems strong at this front. In the last two years, the BJP has worked a lot to make its base stronger in Meghalaya. Especially, the party has strengthened its base both in Khasi-Jaintia and Garo hills.
On the other hand, the clash inside Sangma’s Party is very much public now, and it might lay a negative impact on the 2018 election. Also, the state government has been not that sufficiently efficient to counter the insurgency in the state. The incompetence of the government over the issue has also caused resentment among the separatists.
WHY MUKUL SANGMA SHOULD COME INTO POWER AGAIN?
The present CM, Mukul Sangma initiated Integrated Basin Development Livelihood Programme(IBDLP), a flagship programme which is highlighted by the CM for creating job opportunities and economically empowering the people through judicious utilization of human and natural resources. The CM has managed to increas the per capita income of the state. It has seen a growth of 8.26% which is Rs.88,497(2016-17), earlier it used to be 81,498.
Also, the government of Mukul Sangma is working to fight the insurgency in Garo Hills by constructing police station and upgrading police outposts, Hallidayganj is one of such police outposts. For the development of state, the state government has created six new community and rural development blocks that include 149 villages, not to mention, it adds to the development of the state. On various occasions, the government was in trouble but still, the stability maintained by the Sangma’s Government proves his ability to lead the party and shows the trust of the people of the state and the party members on him.
WHY COULD MUKUL SANGMA FACE IT HARD TO BE THE CM AGAIN?
If there are ample amount of reasons to choose Sangma over any other CM candidate. then there are few issues that might hamper the winning strategies of CM Dr. Mukul Sangma. CM Sangma is said to have forsaken the health issues in the state. He has been said to fail to convene even a single meeting of the State Health Mission since 2011 which shows that the government has not given an adequate priority to the health sector which has resulted in the shortage of over 300 health centers in villages.
Over the NGT ban, the people of Meghalaya lost their jobs in vast numbers and government couldn’t help much. There is still a crisis of job opportunities in Meghalaya, for instance, those who are registered as contractors do not have jobs, the appointment of the teachers under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan lacks implementation. There are several projects that are lying incomplete due to the lack of political will.
Meghalaya tourism suffers negligence since so long as the state does not have proper guest houses and well-furnished hotels. The present government has been accused of not paying much attention towards the tourism industry and because of which it is not able to attract tourists despite being a beautiful tourist destination. Mukul’s government also faced no-confidence motion by the opposition parties on the grounds of the incapability of the government to protect its citizens especially women and children which is a major concern.
Moving towards the election season, the preparations are high. BJP is optimistic about forming the government in Meghalaya.
Avinash Raj Khanna, BJP national vice-president, while speaking to the media said, “We will definitely form a new government in the state and for this, the policies of the center have to reach the grass root level.”.
NPP and UDP are making their efforts to reach out to the electorates.BJP is optimistic about its performance in Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.To give a tribal look and feel to the party, which for years had been mostly represented by non-tribal, the BJP has rejigged the organizational set up by inducing 12 tribal faces among 16 executive members.
On the other hand, CM Sangma has been concentrating his energy on inaugurating the development and welfare programmes to revive the importance of his government in the minds of the people and send out a message that the Congress party has been working to fructify the dreams of the people.
From the beginning of this year, Mukul has been touring different parts of the state to mark the development programmes. The CM seems confident of his victory despite the fact that Modi-Wave is seen very much prominent in the country.
Amidst the fight for the seats, the problems of Meghalaya is the major part to be focused on. The geographical importance of Meghalaya has not been taken into consideration. The state of Meghalaya is landlocked which shares its boundary with the international borders but these have not been utilized to the economic advantage of the state. Experts say, there could be a lot done to get the economic reforms in the state.
The problem of ban on mining which is the customary practice of the people of Meghalaya which needs to be regulated in such a way as to control the pollution caused by mining. The NGT ban on coal mines has already done a lot to hamper the lifestyle of the people, they have lost jobs and the hunger prevails in some regions.
Whichever government sworns in, the main concern should be the development of the state. The agenda of the government should be based on the potentialities around the state which are the human and the natural resources. This should be utilized in such a way as to meet the dreams and aspirations of the people of the state.
Also Read: Meghalaya Polls 2018: The Curtain Raiser