Ardent takes his cue from public; continues as CEM

Ardent M. Basaiawmoit, addresses the public meeting in the city
on Friday. (ST)

SHILLONG: Ending all speculations, KHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM) Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit has decided to continue as the CEM while rejecting outright the pre-conditions set by the UDP.

“I will continue to function in the same manner by giving top priority to overall development of the Council and also protecting the interest of the indigenous population,” Basaiawmoit said while addressing a public meeting at Students’ Field, Jaiaw, on Friday.

“I do not want to be a puppet CEM. I want to be a leader who can take my own individual decisions without having to follow any set rules and conditions,” he said, adding that as a leader, he will try his best to improve his working relations with his fellow colleagues in the alliance.

“I am ready to rectify myself. But I would not like anyone to compel me to change my behaviour and conduct,” the KHADC CEM said.

Basaiawmoit had initially stated that he would not like to continue as the CEM since he knows that in a few months’ time he would be toppled due to partisan politics.

“It will be an insult for me and my family if I am forcefully dislodged from my chair. To avoid such a situation, it will be better for me to resign,” he had said which led to a strong protest from the crowd who shouted that he should not resign.

Basaiawmoit claimed that he has never been power-hungry and that his goal has always been to serve the people in whatever capacity.

While criticizing a section of the media, Basaiawmoit said that they had already speculated that he would step down.

“I have never said that I will announce my decision to step down during the public meeting,” he added.

While recalling the turn of events in the political crisis in the Council, he said that he had actually offered his resignation after the UDP MDCs expressed their disenchantment on his style of functioning during the ARPA meeting on June 17 last.

“I had also told them that if I would resign before the Summer Session since I do not want to continue because I am a person with too many flaws. After this, the UDP MDCs came to me and stated that they had raised this issue not with the intention of wanting me to resign,” the KHADC CEM said.

He said that he was surprised that the UDP MDCs again raked up the issue on August 27 and said that he functioned like a dictator.

“The UDP MDCs had on August 29 demanded a change of leadership in the Council. I had never expected this since I had thought that the whole issue was resolved,” Basaiawmoit said. “The truth is that there was never an occasion when I have tried to bulldoze my opinions either in the meeting of the Executive Committee (EC) or the alliance. I really do not understand how I am behaving like a dictator,” Basaiawmoit said.

He, however, said that no one can deny the fact that as a leader he should have the ability to take decisions on his own on urgent matters.

“If I have to convene a meeting of the EC to decide on every petty issue then I am not fit to lead the coalition. As a leader, I am mandated to function as per provisions laid down in the Assam and Meghalaya Autonomous Districts (Constitution of District Council) Rules, 1951,” he said.

While pointing out that there are question marks that he should not have involved the general public in this whole political turmoil in the KHADC since the decision to form the ARPA was taken by the MDCs themselves and not by the public, the KHADC CEM said that he had never called the people, especially the vendors from Iewduh to come and agitate in the Council.

“It was a spontaneous reaction of the people because they were against the demand to remove me as the CEM of the Council. I cannot tell people to close their shops for three days to come and agitate on the Council premises. They have done so because of their love for me,” Basaiawmoit said.

He said that people should always come and knock on the doors of the Council if they are not happy with the action of the elected representatives.

“This is called true democracy. Personally, I see a ray of hope since people have started to understand their rights,” the KHADC CEM added.

Others who spoke in the meeting included HSPDP supremo Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, KHADC chairperson Teilinia Thangkhiew, Deputy Chairman Pyniaid N Syiem and EM in charge Trade Latiplang Kharkongor.

Never set any pre-conditions for CEM: UDP

UDP working president Bindo Mathew Lanong on Friday clarified that the party had not set any pre-conditions against the incumbent KHADC CEM Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit. “We only made few proposals to the two allies of the ruling coalition (ARPA) in the KHADC. It is totally misleading to say that we have set pre-conditions on the CEM,” Lanong told newsmen while reacting to Basaiawmoit’s statement that he would not pay any heed to the pre-conditions set by UDP.

While disclosing some of the proposals of the party which was officially communicated to the leaders of KHNAM and HSPDP, Lanong said that the UDP had proposed the need to prepare a Common Development Programmes (CDP) of the allies.

“We had also proposed the formulation of a code of conduct which will be binding on all the members of the ruling coalition including the CEM and EMs,” Lanong said.

Lanong, further, said that they had also proposed the constitution of an unofficial core committee of three parties to assist the KHADC, whenever necessary.

“The Alliance partners will now decide whether to accept or reject these proposals,” the UDP working president added.