The Congress Party has told Governor Satya Pal Malik that there was no need to delay elections to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), as was argued by the state government in its decision to impose Administrator’s Rule in the council.
Speaking to reporters after meeting the Governor, Congress leader Dr Mukul Sangma said, “We have urged the Governor that there is no reason for a further delay to this election.”
The term of the GHADC ended on October 18, with MDCs appealing to delay elections because of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the government chose not to keep the MDCs in control and invoked Administrator’s Rule for a period of six months.
This is not the first time that the GHADC elections were postponed. Dr Sangma recounted that when the Congress held power in the state government it had to postpone polls three times from early 2014 onwards because of an under discussion peace treaty with rebel groups, the consequences of which could have changed the composition of the GHADC.
“During our time we had our reasons, but not the [present] state government, who, on its own for no reason at all, postponed [the polls],” Dr Sangma said. “As the reason they have put forward the pandemic because of a surge in the number of cases of Covid-19, but this is ridiculous and cannot be considered as a scientific and realistic decision.”
Meanwhile, he also said that he raised the matter of the delay in GHADC employees’ salaries, which have not been paid for almost three years, and other “alleged illegalities”.
“I have drawn his (the Governor’s) attention to this very serious issue, including the alleged corruption wherein the money sanctioned by the government of India for developmental purposes for backward tribal areas and poor tribal people have been alleged to have been misappropriated,” Dr Sangma said.