Congress in the poll bound north eastern state of Meghalaya is confident of a third consecutive term if the pre poll political landscape is any indication. BJP’s stepped up activities in the state is an extra advantage for the ruling party, says Rejaul Karim Laskar, AICC Observer (Minority Department) for Meghalaya, Nagaland and Mizoram.
Here is the full text of the interview.
Question 1. Can you tell us your party’s Poll Prospects in Meghalaya?
Answer: Congress will return to power in Meghalaya with absolute majority. We will get at least 40 MLA seats out of 60 in the state.
Q2. What achievements the party will figure out to seek fresh mandate?
Rejaul Karim Laskar: The state has achieved a lot in the last five years. It has been one of the fastest growing states in India in terms of Gross State Domestic Product growth rate in the past five years. The state has seen witnessingvery rapid development in terms of physical as well as social infrastructures. Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma is a man of vision and at the same time a man of action. He has taken all the necessary steps for the economic and social development of the state. Furthermore, under the Chief Ministership of Dr. Mukul Sangma, the state has been one of the most peaceful state where every section of society has been living in peace and harmony contributing to the development of the state.
Q3. Why Congress is so confident of yet another term even after BJP is concentrating on Meghalaya apart from the resurgence of NPP under Conrad Sangma?
First of all there is no resurgence of NPP. People have seen through the game of NPP. Conrad Sangma’s performance as MP has been abysmal. If you go to Garo Hills region and ask any ordinary citizen, they will tell you how lacklustre the performance of Conrad as an MP has been. How can the people believe that a person who has been a failure as an MP can be a success as Chief Minister? As regards BJP, BJP concentrating in Meghalaya will be a blessing in disguise for the Congress. The more active the BJP becomes in Meghalaya, the more people of Meghalaya will know about the ideology of BJP and RSS and as a result the people of Meghalaya will not only reject the BJP but also their allies like NPP. We have already seen in the Garo Hills region, some people who earlier supported NPP have recently been distancing themselves from NPP after they learnt about the ideology of their ally BJP. People of Meghalaya have realized that voting for NPP is actually voting for BJP as the NPP will only support a BJP led government in the state just as they did in Manipur. You might remember that in Manipur a BJP led government became possible only because of the NPP support to BJP. People of Meghalaya certainly do not want to see a BJP led government here.
Q4. A circle of Congress leaders is believed to have been in secret parleys with BJP. If it so happens, your party will have to concede defeat. What is your take on this?
Rejaul Karim Laskar: All these “secret parleys” rumours are unsubstantiated. In politics often there are some opportunist persons without any principles who are always ready to shift their allegiance for petty personal benefits. People will never support such unprincipled persons. Even if a few unprincipled persons shift their allegiance, that will not have any effect on the outcome of the elections. People will vote for the principles of the Congress party and the achievements of the MUA Government led by the Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma. Therefore there is no question of conceding defeat.
Q5. Who will be the Congress Chief Ministerial face in the electioneering since Mukul Sangma’s popularity is said to have been decreasing?
Ans. Dr. Mukul Sangma is one of the most popular Chief Ministers in India. Under Dr. Mukul Sangma’s Chief Ministership, the state has made tremendous progress. Meghalaya is one of the best governed states in India at present. Peace and harmony have prevailed in the state under his leadership. As AICC Observer (Minority Department), I have visited various nooks and corners of the state and found that ordinary people are very happy with Dr. Mukul Sangma’s performance as Chief Minister and they want him to continue as Chief Minister.
Q6. Are you not scared of the anti-incumbency? How your party is preparing to beat the anti incumbency wave?
Rejaul Karim Laskar. There is no anti-incumbency feeling among the people of Meghalaya. In fact, it is the opposite which is true. If I may put it this way- there is a pro-incumbency wave growing in Meghalaya at the grassroots level. At least this is the impression that I got from my visits to various nooks and corners of the state as the AICC Observer (Minority Department) for Meghalaya. I have found from my visits to various parts of the state as the AICC Observer (Minority Department) that the ordinary people are very much happy with the developments that have taken place during the last five years in their respective localities and the improvements in their standard of living that have been made possible by the tireless works of Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma and his team. In fact, most of the people, that I have interacted during my visits as Observer, have told me that they are very happy with the performance of Dr. Mukul Sangma as the Chief Minister.
Q7. BJP is equally gaining gradual importance in the pre-poll political landscape. How your party will stop the saffron party’s prospect?
Rejaul Karim Laskar. I am glad that you asked me this question. As I said earlier, BJP’s increased activities in the state will be a blessing in disguise for us. As BJP will increase its activities in the state- the people of Meghalaya will increasingly become aware of the ideology of BJP/RSS. In fact, this has already started to happen. As you might remember two weeks back I had challenged the national secretary of BJP’s Scheduled Tribe Morcha Mr. H B Lotha for a debate with me on the policies of Congress and BJP vis a vis Tribals and Minorities. Mr. Lotha though initially accepted my challenge but latter developed cold feet. I think he did so because he knows such a debate will expose BJP’s communal ideology in front of the people of Meghlaya. Once the people of Meghalaya become aware of the ideology of BJP/RSS they will not only reject BJP but also their allies like NPP. Therefore the increased activities by BJP will be a blessing in disguise for Congress.
Q8. Thanks a ton for being with us.
Rejaul Karim Laskar. It was my pleasure. Wish a bright future for Shillong.com.