Escorted by their supporters three candidates of KAM filed their nominations on Thursday
KAM leaders – Angela Rangad, Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh and Wanpynhun Kharsyntiew filed their nominations as independent candidates from South Shillong, North Shillong and East Shillong.
Speaking to reporters, Rangad expressed confidence to win from South Shillong, which is currently represented by three-time BJP legislator and cabinet minister Sanbor Shullai.
“I am hopeful of winning because for us our campaign from the very beginning has been based on certain principles and values and we have been working hard and trying to meet people to talk about the need to start discussing issues, our rights, how we revive and renew democracy,” she said.
Stating that the people have a very clear alternative, she said “I am sure that the people will choose wisely.”
Asked if it will be easy to defeat a heavy weight, Rangad however said, The sitting MLA has been there for three terms which is for 15 years. However, nobody is indispensable. We have to understand that people will also weigh the works of the MLA not just because he has been around for so long and based on that even during my movement all over the constituency and meeting with people, there is so much that has been left undone in South Shillong.”
“The big thing is also that a lot of funds have not been utilized in a transparent and accountable manner. There is a concentration of funds among certain groups and people and the remaining constituents have not had a proper chance at a proper development of the constituency and even at household level some of their entitlement and rights have not been taken care of in the past 15 years,” she said.
On the KAM’s stand on demand for reviewing the reservation policy, Ranga said, “I think the people were talking about the roster system that came in. Now we have to understand that for years there has been favouritism, nepotism which has been the reason why promotion, transfers have not been fair and people who work in government very clearly know this and so putting in place of that is a good thing to check favouritism and nepotism.
However, we also feel that we have to have a system by which we will look to have better block representation in how you appoint people and there should be a kind of grading system for people who are from economically backward categories then it will be a more holistic and more fair system.”
Slamming the NPP-led MDA government for being a total failure, the KAM leader said, “When you look at government, it is sad that in 50 years of statehood we actually cannot think of a meaningful law or policy that is pro-people about ensure that people and individual family moves up because it is only when development is meaningful for each and every person when all of us are moving forward, when we can progress that is development but that is not the case here.”
“We have to redefine what development is. We have to understand that MDA government was a formation of almost all dispensations whether it is national parties, it was NPP backed BJP, the regional parties – UDP, KHNAM, PDF – all were part of this government and so we need to question now as during election they will try to bring up emotional issues, about regionalism, slow burner issues that are left unresolved for years – so what they do when now that they are part of government for so long they don’t resolve these issue they left them as it is,” she asserted.
On the other hand, North Shillong candidate Rev Kyrsoibor Pyrtuh said that he will fight till his last breath to win the coming elections.
“I will fight till the last breath, I will fight to victory but this is election there are around 28000-29000 voters and it is they who will choose a new representative for North Shillong,” he said.
Stating that there are several issues on his priority list, he said, “I think the economy of the state is very down as we are the poorest state in the country and our per capita income is only 85000 to 90000 a year. There is unemployment and not only unemployment but also there is what I call under-employment even now young people, young girls or boys who are employed are underpaid.
“Our minimum wage which is given in the state is very low compared with other another small state like Sikkim, in Meghalaya you are paid 380 in one day where as in Sikkim is 500 not to compared with the state of Kerala were they pay 700 a day for minimum wage,” he said.
“There is a serious health issue and 17 North Shillong is under East Khasi Hills district and East Khasi Hills is the highest in cancer prevalence. So those who can afford treatment outside the state are fair enough for them, but for the rest we have to look seriously into health issues,” he added.
Informing that very soon KAM will be releasing its manifesto, Pyrtuh said, “There is 100 day plan what should I do and also there are ethical commitment because we entered is electron challenge on the basis to fight against corruption, to fight against criminality in government and politics and also to fight against communalism of any form whether its local or national.”
Meanwhile, East Shillong candidate Wanpynhun Kharsyntiew expressed concern about what she called a power that is trying to control the electorate in the constituency.
“There is a politics which is trying to control people in the sense that by helping them you are not letting them free enough to participate in the other platforms to listen to other candidates,” she said.
The social worker also emphasized on the need to have an employment policy in place and said, “An employment policy will give people a sense of security and target not only workers who are working in the organized sector but it will also target those who are working in the unorganized sector.
It is the duty of the government to bring about changes in other types of employment such as bringing more of a self-employment programme by supporting youths, by bringing more small scale industries.”
Asked on the Congress’ allegation that the sitting legislator Ampareen Lyngdoh had joined the NPP to seek protection in connection with a pending case against her, Kharsyntiew however said, “See a case against Ampareen I know it is a long pending case. We don’t know and let us wait until the court convicts because we cannot say who is right and who is wrong and I am not to comment on that.”