Motion seeking President’s Rule defeated in House

People have lost faith in Mukul-led Govt: Opposition

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma exchanges heated arguments with Opposition
legislators on the first day of the re-assembled Budget session on Friday. (ST)

SHILLONG: The Meghalaya Assembly on Friday, the first day of the re-assembled Budget session, debated for nearly three hours an adjournment motion demanding imposition of President’s Rule in the State moved by the Opposition before it was defeated.

Moving the adjournment motion, NPP legislator James K Sangma said that the people of the State had lost faith in the leadership of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.

“We demand the imposition of President’s Rule in the State. The Congress-led Government under the leadership of Sangma has miserable failed to tackle the issue of militancy,” James said.

He said that Garo Hills was in total chaos and anarchy with extortion, killing and kidnapping being the order of the day.

“The common people of Garo Hills are not feeling safe. There is a fear psychosis among the people,” the NPP legislator said and wondered if the militancy problem in the State would come to an end due to the attitude of the present Government.

Opposition leader Donkupar Roy said that he did not see that the present set up would be able to handle the problem of militancy.

“If we look in the past four years since Sangma took over as the Chief Minister there is an increase in the number of militant group. This is a hard reality which cannot be over looked,” Roy said.

He observed that the present Government was not capable and had miserably failed in its approach to tackle the problem.

“There is a suspicion that a Garo cannot fight a Garo. The best way is for the present Government to step down and allow the imposition of President’s Rule. We need forces from outside to see that the rule of law in the State is re-enforced,” Roy said.

UDP legislator Paul Lyngdoh said that the State Government could not allow a group of 500 plus militants taking the people of the State for a ride.

“The bitter pill of President’s Rule seems to be the best cure,” Lyngdoh said.

Former Chief Minister DD Lapang (Congress) also took part in the discussion saying there had been “omissions and commissions”, even as he urged all members to “put their heads together” and create confidence in the minds of the people. Obliquely referring to the demand for President’s Rule, Lapang cautioned against the “extreme step of taking holiday”.

In reply, the Chief Minister repeated the popular saying: “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. “We are not here to strike off responsibilities. We have commitments which we have given to the people of bringing peace back in the State and a sense of complete well being,” the Chief Minister said, adding that it was not true that since there was no Congress Government in Delhi, the State Government did not know how to place before the Centre the issues concerning the people of the State.

“No need to have that kind of illusion that this Government would be in any way victimized. We would like to work together with the Centre,” the Chief Minister said.

“We should assume upon ourselves to address the problem otherwise the people of the nation will say that Meghalaya has elected 60 member and these 60 members could not actually run the show. This is why you needed imposition of President’s Rule,” he said.

Admitting, however, that the overall law and order situation in the State was a “matter of concern”, he said activities of terror outfit GNLA was “disturbing” and that there were various militant outfits, which were “alive and kicking,” thereby vitiating the environment and creating fear psychosis.

Stating that the government would provide opportunity to the GNLA for holding dialogue provided it shunned all criminal activities, the CM said his government would adopt the “carrot and stick” approach to deal with militants.

Underscoring that strengthening of police force and creation of ‘Special Force-10’ to tackle insurgency was underway the Chief Minister said several schemes for gainful employment of the youth so that they are not lured into militancy were also being implemented.

Informing that the Centre would soon send five companies of paramilitary forces in addition to the 10 companies the Centre had already deputed to the State, the Chief Minister expressed gratitude to New Delhi for having positively responded to the State’s needs.

Maintaining that all northeastern states should converge in tackling the common menace of insurgency, the he iterated, “We will face the challenge and definitely overcome it.”

With James Sangma refusing to withdraw the adjournment motion, it was put to voice vote by Speaker Abu Taher Mondal and was defeated.

Others members who participate in the motion included GNC legislator Clifford R Marak, UDP legislator Jemino Mawthoh and NPP legislator Nihim D Shira.