Like the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which runs the central government, did to Jammu and Kashmir, so the threat remains that Meghalaya will be stripped of its special constitutional status that protects the native tribes as part of the saffron party’s nefarious designs, state Trinamool Congress (TMC) chief Dr Mukul Sangma said today on the campaign trail.
Speaking in Daddengre, the leader of the opposition also dwelt on the Assam-Meghalaya border deal signed last year and promised that the TMC would scrap it. In the agreement to resolve Phase 1 of the border talks, the two states largely split the 36 sq km in dispute down the middle, which drew the ire of political parties, pressure groups and ordinary citizens alike.
“We have a mission to bring back the lands we lost to Assam,” Dr Sangma said. “During my tenure (as Chief Minister), we had refused to sign an agreement that gave our land to Assam but this anti-people government signed the agreement and sold our precious land.”
Turning to the threat that the BJP poses, he reminded the gathering that Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its special status under the Constitution’s Article 370 by the Centre.
“Our Meghalaya is under threat as the draconian laws that were imposed on other states by the BJP government will soon reach our beautiful hill state too,” Dr Sangma said. “The central government sitting in Delhi abrogated Article 370 to fulfill their vested interests. The article was a weapon for the indigenous people to preserve their land as it legally obstructed others to own land in the state. The Modi-led BJP government works against the will of the people. Many leaders from Kashmir including the former Chief Ministers were arrested during the persecution. We must stay united and vigilant of such nefarious activities.”
He warned against voting for the Congress Party too, saying that the TMC is the only party that is a “formidable force to wage a battle against the BJP.”
Meanwhile, TMC general secretary Abhishek Banerjee addressed rallies in Ampati and Williamnagar today, a day after speaking in Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s South Tura constituency.
He urged the people to deliver a fitting answer to, what he said, have been five years of corruption under the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, led by the National People’s Party.
“This is not just a vote to elect. It is a vote to reject, protest and punish the culprits,” Banerjee said. “It is a vote to hold perpetrators to book for selling their spines to those sitting in Delhi and for playing with people’s love and faith.”
He also assured that, if voted to power, the TMC will ensure that their flagship women’s empowerment and youth employment initiatives are implemented within the first month.
He also claimed that the huge success in terms of enrolment for the youth employment programme shows that the MDA has been unable to create job opportunities for the youth, despite all its self-promotion.
“Conrad Sangma claims that Meghalaya has the lowest unemployment rate. But when Trinamool Congress launched Meghalaya TMC’s MYE card scheme, over four lakh unemployed youth registered for it. That is a testament to the fact that unemployment is highest in the state and the youth are being deprived of their rights,” he said.
Speaking on infrastructure, Dr Sangma said that projects have remained incomplete during the MDA government’s tenure.
“We had initiated one medical college but that has seen no progress,” he said. “The same is the case with a technical institute, an engineering college and an architecture college. The development work that we started has been left incomplete due to this present government. The incumbent government, in the last five years, has forgotten about their tribes, youth and mothers. Their only priority is to rob the state of its rightful land, culture, and heritage.”
Despite having BJP support for the MDA, the state government has not created even one medical college in the state when there should at least be one in each district, i.e. 12, Banerjee stated.
“The NPP-led MDA government inaugurated the polytechnic but it did not see the light of day. Shillong Medical College exists on paper while Tura Medical College is still in the doldrums,” he added.
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