The Congress Party spelled out 10 alleged scams in a ‘chargesheet’ against the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance, which, all told, cost the state hundreds of crores of rupees over the past five years.
Dubbed the “Grand Meghalaya Loot”, the Congress vowed today that all those guilty of illegalities connected with these scams will be brought to justice when it returns to power.
The chargesheet begins with the doomed dome – the collapse of the under-construction new Assembly dome in May last year. Wittily described as a “case of ransom”, referring to the then Executive Engineer in charge of the project and now National People’s Party candidate for North Shillong, Ransom Sutnga, the Congress pointed out that the cost of the project was inflated from Rs 105.59 crore to Rs 177.78 crore and that the company that won the contract was allowed to sub-contract the work to two companies who had failed in the bidding process.
Alleged overspending in the fight against Covid-19 was also highlighted. According to the opposition party, Meghalaya spent eight times more than Manipur did (Rs 816 crore to Rs 100 crore) even though the latter had more Covid cases and more fatalities related to the disease.
Illegal coal mining (resulting in a cost to the state through lost revenue of Rs 650 crore), funding of Rs 500 crore to MUDA without “visible development”, irregularities in the Saubhagya electricity project (loss of Rs 149.12 crore) to Meghalaya, public distribution system (PDS) rice scam and police purchase scam were also all questioned by the Congress, which also made allegations over the way the Dhar Construction Company has a “monopoly over all road construction” in Khasi-Jaintia Hills (two members of the family are cabinet ministers), the issuance of casino licences (since cancelled) and the central bonded warehouse system.
Congress media and publicity department chairman, Pawan Khera, said that the party gives its word to every single voter that it will ensure that the guilty are brought to book and justice will be delivered.
“Justice is done through a process of law, which will follow and you’ll see justice being delivered. Whatever needs to be done will be done and the guilty will be punished,” Khera said.
The Congress is hoping to make a strong comeback in Meghalaya. It won the most seats in the 2018 election and the highest vote share but was sidelined from power and gradually began shedding its members, losing a string of by-elections and witnessing defections and stab-in-the-back attacks by its own MLAs.
AICC media coordinator Mathew Antony said that the party will retain and even increase its 28.5 vote share in the February 27 election thanks to the belief of the people even if many political leaders have fled. He added that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are joining the Congress and that will give a small fillip to the party’s chances.
When asked if the party fears that the BJP will, as it did in 2018, use all its might to keep the Congress out of a coalition government, he said that the Congress will get an absolute majority on its own.
It was Dr Mukul Sangma, who was Chief Minister under the Congress for eight years, who led the biggest faction of MLAs into the arms of the Trinamool Congress in 2021.
This earned the former leader the moniker of Brutus by, in a delicious coincidence, Antony. Brutus had led the conspiracy against Julius Caesar and it was Antony (in the historical case his name was Mark) who helped defeat the assassins.
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