KHNAM to contest in Meghalaya’s ADC elections

June 5, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, June 4: Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) has announced its decision to contest the upcoming elections to the autonomous district councils (ADCs) in Khasi and Jaintia Hills region.

The party is also preparing to come up with a set of conditions based on which tickets will be allotted to the aspiring candidates.

Speaking to reporters after a general council meeting, newly elected working president of the KHNAM Thomas Passah said, “Through the MDC elections, the party does not seek to revive itself as a political party but to revive the district council. That is a clear cut challenge.”

“It is a wrong perception to say that the KHNAM seeks to strengthen itself through the MDC election but in fact through the MDC elections, we want to strengthen the district council and ensure proper implementation of the provisions of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India.”

Asserting the need to bring a change in the functioning of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Passah said, “Look at the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) and KHADC, who among them knows how to function well. The KAAC knows how to implement the provisions of the Sixth Schedule but here, I don’t know whether they know or they have other motives.”

He said unfortunately, the KHADC has witnessed only one legislator, former KHADC chief late HS Shylla, who was able to legislate and passed only one law – the 1999 Lineage Act –  in the past 50 years.

“Question arises what are the other MDCs doing? Shylla was the only one who had also initiated the Land Bill and the Clan Bill. So where are all the MDCs of the Council? This shows that everything is not right and now we want to ensure the district council is strengthened,”Passah said.

Stating that the KHNAM had decided not to contest the 2023 Assembly polls, the working president said, “This is because if we win the MDC elections, we will not have to compromise with the state government on many issues because we have no MLAs. We will be ready to confront the state government as we have no connection with the state government. We will ensure total autonomy of the council.”

Passah informed that many have approached the party for tickets for the upcoming MDC elections.

“However, we are yet to take a call because we are preparing to come up with a set of conditions for the candidates. They will have to sign that they agree with the conditions of the party if they want to apply for a party ticket. Those who do not agree, we request them not to apply for a ticket,” he said.

Agreeing that the absence of an anti-defection law has been one of the major setbacks for the KHNAM, the working president said, “Due to this, the PDF was also able to rule in the KHADC without contesting elections. To ensure (shifting of allegiance by MDCs to other parties) do not repeat, we will carefully verify the credentials of the candidates before giving party tickets. We will prefer fresh faces who are actively involved in social activities.”

Passah also warned that the party has its own conviction law to implement against those who desert the party and said, “If you win from the KHNAM and you switch your allegiance to another political party, we will ensure you will never win an election as we will go and campaign against you in your constituency. Therefore, if you want a ticket, come forward with full commitment and dedication to serve the people.”

Asked if the coming of the VPP will affect the prospects of the KHNAM in the upcoming elections, Passah said, “There is no question of affecting the prospect of the party. We will contest the MDC election by making it clear that we are not afraid to lose. Many are saying the KHNAM is weak party but I would like to say as a political party, the KHNAM may be weak because to strengthen the party is the responsibility of the people but KHNAM as a movement is very strong compared to all political parties as movement is our responsibility as we continue to raise issues concerning the people and the state.”