Shillong: Former Nongkrem legislator Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit is harping on two crucial issues – clean politics and protecting rights of indigenous people in poll-bound Meghalaya.
Basaiawmoit in November 2021 floated Voice of the People Party (VPP), a new regional political party to bring about ‘a real change’ in Meghalaya.
The state assembly election in Meghalaya is scheduled to be held during the month of February, along with Nagaland and Tripura.
“Educating electorates on clean politics is crucial because zero tolerance on corruption can only guarantee good governance in Meghalaya,” the firebrand leader told Northeast News during an interview in Shillong.
Basaiawmoit said he wants the VPP to win election by fair means. “Unlike others, we will not buy votes. Rather, we will educate the electorates to vote for the right candidate, based on issues,” he said.
The former HSPDP president said his new party is telling the voters that they are protagonists of Meghalaya’s political theatre. “Voters should be educated and politically conscious to elect the right candidates,” he said.
Not nervous with the financial might of the BJP, Congress and the NPP, Basaiawmoit is of the opinion that money power will have very less role in the coming days in elections in Meghalaya.
“We understand funding election is a big challenge for parties like us. So we are trying to create the political consciousness,” he said, adding, “People need to understand politics better.”
Claiming that VPP is ‘different’ from the three other major regional parties – the UDP, HSPDP and the PDF, Basaiawmoit said, “People of Meghalaya are aware of the fact that the regional parties have failed to protect the rights of the indigenous people.”
“I resigned from UDP following serious differences in opinion over Uranium mining,” Basaiawmoit said, adding that it was also shocking when HSPDP legislators decided to join the MDA without any consultation.
The VPP leader said he was flabbergasted when a HSPDP MLA opposed Article 371 on the floor of the state assembly.
Basaiawmoit said VPP promises to protect and safeguard the interest of the indigenous people of the state, which is ‘non-negotiable’.
The other regional parties don’t practice what they preach, he said, adding, “Our politics is different….we practice what we preach.”
“That is why we were left with no other option but to float this new political party in Meghalaya,” he said, adding that the other regional parties only claim about rights of the indigenous people on their manifestos.
Lambasting the Conrad K Sangma-led MDA government, Basaiawmoit said Meghalaya has failed in every aspect as the current political leaders of the state lack political will to bring changes.
“The only solution in Meghalaya is to bring in a new set of leaders with the conviction and dedication to serve the people,” he said.
The VPP leader said he was hurt when BJP leaders from Guwahati had to come to Shillong to give shape to the new Meghalaya government after the 2018 election.
“And it was shocking as the three regional parties joined the government without any consultation,” Basaiawmoit said, adding that the pre-poll understanding was that the regional parties would not support any new government of Congress or the BJP.
The VPP leader said political leaders from outside Meghalaya come and control the internal affairs, including the formation government, because the leaders of the state are ‘weak’.
“When your own government is weak, you cannot blame anyone. That is why we need a strong, decisive leadership in future in Meghalaya,” Basaiawmoit said.
The VPP leader said Meghalaya ranks lowest among the other states at every sphere, and the state can only develop and progress only if strong and clean politicians lead the new government.