The opposition Voice of the People Party (VPP) has threatened to boycott the inaugural day of the Meghalaya Assembly budget session on February 16 if the Governor’s speech is only in Hindi without an English translator.
A letter in this regard was sent by VPP parliamentary party secretary Heavingstone Kharpran to Assembly Speaker Thomas A. Sangma today.
Kharpran also mentioned that the parliamentary party of four VPP legislators which met on January 30 had discussed and taken a decision on the matter.
In the letter addressed to Sangma, the VPP parliamentary party secretary emphasised the significance of the budget session and its implications for the people of the State.
“Given the significance of the budget session and its implications for our constituents, it is imperative that all members of the Assembly are able to fully comprehend and engage with the proceedings. However, it has been observed that in previous sessions, the Governor addressed the House primarily in Hindi, which had caused great inconvenience to members who are not comfortable in Hindi language and also keeping in mind that Hindi is not the official language of Meghalaya,” Kharpran said.
“In this connection and on behalf of the Voice of the People Party, I respectfully convey the decision of the parliamentary party meeting held on the 30th of January 2023, to appeal to you that the address of the Governor is made in English and if his Excellency is not in his capability to address the House in English, your office can arrange a translator during his entire speech for the interest and convenience of all the stakeholders,” he added.
Kharpran also said that by ensuring the proceedings of the budget session are conducted in a language accessible to all members, the House can uphold the principles of transparency, inclusivity, and effective governance.
“The party would like to make its stand very clear that it will not be part of proceedings should the Assembly secretariat fail to address this issue,” the VPP parliamentary party secretary said.
The upcoming budget session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly will see the customary inaugural address by the Governor on February 16, the first day of the session.
It may be recalled that on March 20, 2023, the Assembly saw massive disruption during Chauhan’s speech as his address in Hindi enraged the MLAs of the Voice of the People’s Party (VPP).
VPP legislator Ardent M. Basaiawmoit stood up and said that Meghalaya is not a Hindi-speaking state and the Governor’s speech in Hindi is against the sentiments of the people. Later, all four VPP MLAs walked out from the House in protest.
However, Assembly Speaker Thomas A. Sangma allowed the Governor to continue the address in Hindi since a written speech in English was circulated among all the members.