SHILLONG, MAY 12: The Voice of the People Party (VPP) on Friday set a 48-hour ultimatum for the state government to put on hold all job recruitment process pending the review of the state reservation policy failing which the party will be compelled to call for series of agitations.
A letter in this regard was submitted by leaders of the VPP to the Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma after a public meeting was held at the parking lot near the additional secretariat here.
A few hundreds of people came out to show their support and solidarity with the VPP and its demand.
The four MLAs led by Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit chose not to submit the letter as decided earlier after learning that the Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong were not in station even as they termed it as an ‘excuse’ not to meet them to avoid discussion on the important issue.
Announcing the decision of the party during the meeting, Basaiawmoit said, “We have decided to set a 48-hour ultimatum for the government to immediately come up with a notification putting on hold the job recruitment process in the state pending review of the state reservation policy.”
“On failing, we would have no other option but to call for series of agitations against the adamant attitude of this government,” he added.
He said this is the party’s second letter to the government after it has failed to respond to the first letter which demanded for convening of the Assembly’s special session for discussion on this sensitive issue.
Basaiawmoit said that the party has decided to instead entrusted party leaders to submit the letter to the government after they were informed that the chief minister and deputy chief minister are not in station.
“We were told they have gone to Delhi to request the Centre to support the state for setting up an international airport. I fail to understand why don’t they first improve the functioning of the existing airport. However, this is seen just an excuse to avoid meeting us because you think that the VPP do not have the number as they have only 4 MLAs,” he said.
The Nongkrem legislator further assumed that the government is avoiding discussion because they don’t have justification to say that the present policy is right and said, “They (Govt) understand once they sit in the table across with us they will not be able to justify their stand that the present reservation policy is fine that it doesn’t have any problem and that it takes care for every tribe in the state.”
When asked, the VPP chief said that the party’s stand is very clear that the problem is not with the roster system but it is with the entire policy.
“The policy is not proportionate so how can you divide the policy by two. You need to understand the population structure of the state, you need to see that the population of Khasi-Jaintia is more than the population in Garo Hills so how do you expect that the policy will be reserved equally between the two,” he said.
Stating that the VPP’s fight is for the benefit of both the ‘Khasis’ and the ‘Garos’, Basaiawmoit said, “When we fight for the reservation it doesn’t mean that we fight for ourselves only. We fight so that this reservation is ‘just and fair’ for these two communities.”
Alleging that the present reservation policy is giving ample opportunities to non-residents of the state, he said, “As we know, according to the present policy it even gives a chance to the tribes from outside the state to enjoy this reservation policy. Therefore, this reservation policy has to be for Garos of Meghalaya and has to be for the Khasis in Meghalaya not any other tribes coming from any other states. So it is for their own good that we are trying to bring a solution on this issue.”
Asked if the VPP would also approach leaders from Garo Hills for support, Basaiawmoit said, “Definitely, we will be discussing, we will be engaging as our stand is not against our Garo brothers. We just want to see that this policy is being reviewed, relook and re-examine and bring a policy which is just and fair for both the communities nothing more than that.”
The VPP leader said the party doesn’t mind if the state government takes time to discuss the issue but “in the meantime, we want the government to immediately put on hold any kind of recruitment process because if they recruit in the present form that means our youth will be badly affected. Therefore, we ask the government to put on hold any employment process (till the) policy is reviewed.”
On the government’s decision to call for an all-party meeting, Basaiawmoit said the VPP will definitely attend the meeting if invited.
He further maintained that the party does not want this issue to continue in the street in this way.
“We want the government to convene a special session because we dont want to discuss the issue in the streets as we are doing now. Because the government is trying to avoid we have no option but to hit the streets. We dont want this issue to continue in the street, we want the government to initiate and find ways and means to review the policy,” he asserted.