Meghalaya Trinamool Congress launched a truly unique campaign in the political history of Meghalaya by organising a ‘Townhall with Dr. Mukul’ A conversation kick started by Dr Mukul Sangma with the women of Shillong.

Around three thousand women attended the Town Hall meeting with the Leader of opposition and the former Chief Minister and actively participated in the conversation. The AITC Parliamentary Chief also answered various queries by the women electorate. It may be mentioned that in the sphere of political activities women’s representation is very negligible.

The prerogative of the event was to build more human connection between the leader of the masses and the local women residents of the area. As a party honouring the state’s tradition of matrilineal heritage, Meghalaya TMC deems it absolutely necessary to listen closely to women and their concerns.

A large congregation of women across the city from all walks of lives enthusiastically came forward with their questions which were heartily addressed by Dr. Mukul Sangma.

While answering a grave question as to what measures could the MDA government have taken to prevent the Mukroh tragedy, Dr. Sangma replied, “The brutal killings could have been avoided because the brutalities were not a result of community clash, but an act perpetrated by the government authorities. There should have been pre-emptive measures, which were missing; The dialogue between the two governments was missing.”

Calling the shutdown of Internet ‘a bankruptcy of ideas’, he commented, “The government gave a knee-jerk reaction by shutting down the internet. During my tenure, not even on a single occasion did we shut down the internet in the name of restoring order, peace, and law. This is a reflection of a bankruptcy of ideas.”

During the interactive session, a question on women’s inclusion in the political scenario of Meghalaya was pertinently raised by a female resident. Eloquently answering the question, Dr. Mukul Sangma commented, “The involvement of women in the process of democracy is extremely crucial. Our party leadership Smt. Mamata Banerjee is the Chairperson of AITC and she has demonstrated her dedication, integrity, commitment and has fared way better than men even in electoral battles. She has proven that women can defeat formidable opponents.”

With a heartfelt note of inspiration, he added, “My mother aspired to be a politician but she couldn’t due to the circumstances, however she passed her dreams on to her children.”

Answering a question regarding the MDA government’s infrastructural collapse, Dr. Sangma drew a comparison to his tenure of governance: “The education department had a budget that only accommodated salaries and no infrastructural support. We ensured government college in every district from only two colleges in the state. In Mawphlang, we established a college of science and commerce. In Garo hills, we have colleges for engineering, and architecture funded by the GoI.”

About the fundings acquired by the then-government, he recalled, “We were grappling with funds since the fund was available only for salaries and pensions. We reached out to the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, JAICA, and other funding supports. We embarked upon a new program by Asian Development Bank called Human Capital Development Programme. It was inclusive of smart classrooms and furniture in the era of technology. We started a teachers’ training program with the funds.”

Lastly, while answering a very consequential question about the traffic in the Shillong City, Dr. Sangma said, “To ease out traffic congestion and to promote tourism during my tenure, I initiated four-lane construction in Jorabat-Shillong route. Eastern Bypass alone is not sufficient. Unfortunately, the government of the day wasted five years by not paying attention to important routes such as Western Bypass.”

He added, “In 2012, we released a beautiful public transport system. I embarked upon the public bus along with my colleagues to inaugurate it. The reality of traffic snarls needs to be understood first for a sustainable resolution.”

During the event, Meghalaya TMC leader James Lyngdoh and North Shillong Block President from Meghalaya TMC, Elgiva Gwyneth Rynjah were also present. The first in a series of events, the party is planning to host more such interactions in the coming weeks with several other stakeholders from sections of society. With women participating from all walks of life in Shillong, the start of this campaign today scripted a huge success.

By Editor