MLAs apprehensive about Council by-polls

SHILLONG: Several factors are preventing MLAs from contesting the by-polls to the vacant seats of KHADC and JHADC though the dichotomy exists between the amended dual posts Act of 2015, which prevents legislators from holding a district council post, and the Governor’s order backed by the Election Commission that the Council posts are not office of profit.
Moreover, the High Court of Meghalaya, while ruling that the dual posts Act is valid, had also upheld that the order of the Governor related to declaring the post of MDC as not an office of profit.
Seven legislators had quit the posts of MDCs following the amended dual posts Act which came into effect from October last year.
However, even after a year, KHADC CEM P.N Syiem is continuing both as MLA and MDC since the District Council post does not fall under either the state or the central governments to call it as office of profit, and hence he does not face disqualification.
Despite this, there is fear among the legislators, who had quit the posts of MDCs to seek re-election.
The State government had repeatedly said the MLAs contesting the by-election will be at their own risks.
When asked whether the legislators can contest the council polls, District Council Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong said, “It is up to their wisdom and risk.”
Another hurdle for the legislators who want to contest the by-polls is that the Retuning Officer can take a decision to disqualify the legislators who file nomination papers based on the dual posts Act or after receiving any complaint.
Besides, the legislators prefer not to contest the by-election since the Union Home Ministry will soon clear the amendment that prevents MLAs from holding the posts of MDCs.
While HDR Lyngdoh, a former MDC has decided to field his son to contest from Nongspung-Sohiong, former JHADC member and Independent legislator Stephanson Mukhim (War East) is also not keen to contest the by-polls.
Moreover, HSPDP’s Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit (Nongkrem) and Phlastingwell Pangniang (Rambrai- Jyrngam) have given way to other candidates to contest the election.
Thought the UDP is yet to officially announce the candidates for Mairang- Nongkhlaw and Mawthadraishan, which were earlier held by Metbah Lyngdoh and Brolding Nongsiej, sources said these UDP legislators are not likely to contest the vacant seats.
Moreover, NCP sources said the party will soon meet to decide on the candidate to contest Laban-Mawprem seat which was earlier held by Sanbor Shullai.

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