Jowai village fiat against money power before council polls

Directives issued for candidates, supporters

SHILLONG: When money power plays a crucial role before elections and is the norm in many states, including Meghalaya, one village in West Jaintia Hills has decided to prove that voters are the most powerful force and democracy still prevails.
As preparations for the district election begin, the village of Panaliar in Jowai has prohibited distribution of money within the jurisdiction of the village. This is besides other prohibitions to ensure free and fair election. The waheh chnong (headman), Riquoma Rq Laloo, has issued directions that all orders have to be strictly followed ahead of the election in February, a statement issued on Thursday said.
On the day of voting, the village has prohibited its residents and non-residents to assemble or stand 100 meters away from the polling station.
The village will take punitive action as per the rules of the village if anybody is found indulging in cash for vote and the person will be handed over to the authorities in the state.
Prohibiting any decoration of the yungwalieh (community hall) during public meetings, Laloo said in the statement that candidates will also not be allowed to serve tea during public meets at the yungwalieh.
Any public meeting of candidates held at the yungwalieh should be chaired by the headman or assistant headman.
Further, Laloo said no public meeting can be held beyond 10 pm at the yungwalieh. Only one supporter should speak before the candidate’s speech while the candidate’s offspring are not allowed to speak at the yungwalieh.
The candidate can bring only 12 supporters from outside Panaliar while the meeting will be stopped if there is opposition to this rule and only two vehicles will be allowed to enter the village.
Laloo stated that the residents of Panaliar can take part in a public meeting held by candidates from outside the village but will be allowed to speak only on village matters.
Vehicles will not be allowed to park in the village if the public meeting is held in a neighbouring village and supporters cannot use high decibel music in their vehicles.

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