Union Home Minister Amit Shah has no respect for the smaller states, their people or their culture, Shillong MP Vincent Pala has told Highland Post.
Pala was reacting to Shah’s brief visit to Shillong yesterday where he addressed the plenary session of the North Eastern Council (NEC) but had no time, other than to receive hardcopy memorandums and pose for photos, with the State’s ministers and representatives of pressure groups who wanted to lobby him about the Inner Line Permit (ILP).
“This is not the first time that Shah has not been serious to meet concerned stakeholders of the state because the same thing happened with religious leaders and others who tried to meet him on previous occasions,” Pala said.
Even being an MP is no guarantee of being heard by the Union Home Minister, Pala said, as he has been similarly ignored in the past, with letters of his to Shah on matters concerning Meghalaya and the North East going unanswered.
“This is because Shah has no regard for smaller states like ours, including our culture and the people who want to meet and discuss important issues with him,” the Congress MP said.
Shah’s presence at the NEC was just for show, Pala continued, as “there is no seriousness on his part but only empty words.”
When asked whether the BJP, to which Shah belongs and which rules at the Centre, will grant ILP to Meghalaya just before the 2023 Assembly elections to gain political mileage in a State where it has a minimal presence, Pala said that ILP should not be mixed up with politics.
“Winning elections depends on the people and the candidates and I don’t see that delivering ILP will increase the political mileage of any party,” he stated.
Various pressure groups of the State have expressed their annoyance after Union Home Minister Amit Shah did not give them enough time to discuss ILP and other issues.
The pressure groups also said that they had witnessed that even the cabinet ministers of the Meghalaya government were not allowed by Shah to discuss issues.
According to them, the turn of events yesterday was not only an insult to the State government but to the citizens of Meghalaya.
However, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the Union Home Minister was keen to meet the cabinet and the pressure groups but due to certain programmes that came up in Assam, his programme changed and he had to rush back.
Sangma also said that Shah has conveyed to the State cabinet and to the other organisations through him that he will be happy to meet them in Delhi.