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Political churning and electoral messaging

Preparations for the state assembly polls scheduled for February-March 2018 have begun in right earnest in Meghalaya. There is a virtual exodus of political actors from their parent party the Indian National Congress to the National Peoples’ Party (NPP) and other political groups. Only two regional parties, the UDP and the HSPDP have formed an alliance leaving out others like KHNAM and the newly formed PDF. It would have been in the larger interest of the electorate had the regional parties put their egos aside and aligned to serve the people. But as usual that is not to be. In fact this election presents a major opportunity for the regional parties to take the reins of governance from the Congress which is suffering a major anti-incumbency factor, after having been in the seat of power for seven years (2010-2017). But the very fact that the UDP and HSPDP will be having friendly fights in some constituencies exposes the fragile nature of the alliance. Both parties don’t want to give up their political turfs and also the claim to chief ministership should they manage the magic figure of 31 seats. That of course is a dim possibility since the NPP is proving to be a major contender this time around with several Congress stalwarts joining its bandwagon. But if people are looking for change they are already disappointed. The NPP cannot bring change in governance with the same set of people that had dragged down the MUA-2 Government.

Congressmen who have deserted the evidently sinking ship have blamed the chief minister Mukul Sangma of leading a one-man army. But the question is why did they allow that? A cabinet is where crucial decisions are taken, questions are raised on the performance of the government and accountability is sought. There is space for that. If Mukul Sangma does not take kindly to criticism the ministers should have put in their dissenting notes instead of cribbing privately. That they did not do so exposes their own incompetence. It’s pointless blaming the CM for all the wrongdoings from 2013-17, since he was not holding all portfolios such as PWD, PHE, Education, Health, Forest, C&RD etc., which are major departments. Those who held these departments for five years must answer to the public irrespective of whether they have joined the NPP, NCP or any other party. A new uniform does not necessarily absolve them of past sins.       

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