The Voice of the People Party (VPP) has temporarily suspended its agitation following a meeting between party leaders and Law Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, who told them that a meeting to discuss the Lokayukta appointment issue will be held with the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary in the next few days.
Addressing the crowds who were gathered near the Secretariat, VPP leader and Nongkrem MLA Arden M Basaiawmoit said that the government calling for the meeting shows that there was a mistake in removing the officers from the Lokayukta.
The opposition party first called for a protest last Friday to press for reinstatement of the three Lokayukta officials who were sacked by the state government unceremoniously by WhatsApp. The three were the Lokayukta’s Director of Inquiry and Prosecution Jainal Rymmai and two enquiry officers – Anil K Sangma and Rymphang Pde. It was this trio who had unearthed an alleged scam worth crores of rupees that purportedly involved a governing party MLA, Sanjay Sangma, who is also the brother-in-law of Chief Minister Conrad Sangma. The state government justified the trio’s removal by stating that they were retired government officials and the Lokayukta rules require serving officials to hold the posts.
“We have agreed to the Law Minister’s request that the Chief Minister wants to meet us on this matter,” Basaiawmoit said, adding that the VPP has made it clear that the agitation will resume if the government does not provide a satisfactory explanation.
Stressing that the war against corruption in the state is now or never or else Meghalaya will be consumed from within, he said that the VPP will also hold street corner meetings across the state to enlighten people on the need to strengthen the Lokayukta Act.
“Once the Lokayukta has no outside interference, you will see many who will face jail and this is what we want,” Basaiawmoit said.
The opposition party had faced problems holding the protests near the Secretariat given it is in a high security zone but the Nongkrem MLA warned the government that while it can bar the public from attending the agitation, it cannot bar them from casting their votes for the VPP.