All-party meet inconclusive

Govt awaits Parliamentary approval of 6th Schedule amendment

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma shakes hands with UDP leader BM Lanong before the start of the all-party meet (UB)

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has claimed that the Opposition parties have all appreciated the efforts of the State Government in pursuing the Agreed Text Settlement (ATS) signed with the ANVC and ANVC -B even as the all-party meeting held here on Tuesday ended inconclusively.
“Every political party has placed on record their appreciation that the various points indicated in the ATS are finally achieved. The whole discussion has been very productive,” Sangma told newsmen after the all-party meeting which was attended by leaders of various political parties and stakeholders including the traditional heads here on Tuesday.
When told that the traditional heads and some of  political parties were not happy with the final outcome of the meeting, Sangma countered that everyone appears to be happy  and satisfied with the meeting.
“The minutes of the meeting also indicated that everyone is happy,” the Chief Minister said.
He, however, informed that the State Government has taken up with the Centre the issue of amendment of the Sixth Scheduled of the Constitution as indicated in the ATS, for increase of seats in the GHADC, which should be around 40 members including five nominated and 35 elected members.
“As far as the issue of finalizing the decision is concerned the draft amendment of the relevant portion of the Sixth Schedule by the Centre is still awaited. We will be meeting again to dwell on the draft amendment bill after receiving the copy of it. All political parties had the same opinion to meet again in about 8-9 days or before the end of the month and come up again with a decision which should be unanimous,” Sangma said.
The Chief Minister informed that during the meeting, they had dwelt at length on the issue of whether the role of nominated members should be equivalent to the elected members as to have voting rights.
“This is one of the pertinent issues which we discussed during the meeting besides other points.” Sangma said.
Informing that the State Government has put all efforts to pursue with the Centre on this matter, he informed that he had personally written a letter to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh and also to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting that all necessary measures for giving effect to this proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution, mandating the increase of seats as per the Memorandum of Settlement, be taken up on priority.
“Now, though we have received the communication on December 17, by then the state government had already taken decision because we were awaiting their response which we did not get. After the Cabinet when we wanted to proceed ahead with the elections, the Union Government  has categorically stated that they already intend to introduce this proposed amendment to give effect to whatever is incorporated in the settlement,” Chief Minister said
While stating that this proposed amendment will be placed in the forthcoming Parliamentary session, Sangma said that it has become incumbent upon the state government to allow the whole exercise and process of the proposed amendment for consideration of the Parliament to be completed first and then go ahead afterwards with the election process with the new delimited seats.