Meghalaya VPP Chief Ardent Basaiawmoit calls Conrad ‘Confused’

May 25, 2023 by MT Bureau

Staff Reporter

Shillong, May 24: Voice of the People Party (VPP) chief Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit today slammed Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma for being “confused” over the issue of putting in place a roster system for the implementation of the job reservation policy.

The three-time Nongkrem legislator has entered the second day of his indefinite hunger strike today to pressurize the state government to review the 1972 job reservation policy.

Speaking to reporters, Basaiawmoit said that he is determined to fast till the government agrees to comply with the demand. However, till this very moment, there has been no response yet from the government.

“But I will not move from here till the government agrees to review the present job reservation policy,” he added.

The VPP chief also maintained that the party will only accept the invitation of the government if it is to discuss reviewing the policy.

When asked for his comment on the Chief Minister’s statement asking the VPP to introspect its decision on the issue, Basaiawmoit said, “We are not like the Chief Minister who is a confused person. We are not confused as far as the issue of reviewing the job reservation policy is concerned. Right from day one, our demand is to put on hold the implementation of the roster system pending the review of the reservation policy which means that first you need to review the reservation policy then you can implement the roster because implementing the roster system in the present form of the job reservation policy will badly affect the unemployed youth of this part of the state, which is why we feel that we don’t need to introspect because we know what we are doing.”

“In fact, the chief minister seemed to be more confused. It was the chief minister who said that there is no retrospective, no prospective implementation of the roster. It was the Chief Minister who said that if you are not happy with the decision of the government on the roster you can go to the judiciary and it was the Chief Minister who said that we will not discuss at all on this issue and now, they (Govt) have called for an all-party meeting, they have discussed the issue and it was the Chief Minister who said that once the roster is ready we will go ahead with the appointment, with the recruitment process and now the government has put on hold,” he added.

“So who is more confusing? It is the chief minister, it is the government because they know they don’t have the ground to debate with the VPP. So it is for the government to reconsider its stand where they have to take a decision to review the present job reservation policy,” he said.

He said that the party is very much optimistic that once the government sees the pressure that the people of this part of the state is giving it will have to comply with the demand of the VPP.

Asked why the other 3 legislators of the VPP are not part of the indefinite hunger protest, Basaiawmoit however said, “I don’t think it is right on our part to disclose the strategies or the feeling of the party which way to go. It is up to the party. We may go for a massive hunger strike or we may go for a lone. It all depends on the strategy of the party.”

The VPP chief also held the MDA government responsible for pushing the issue to the street by turning down the request of the party for a special session of the State Assembly.

“This situation could have been avoided had the state government listen to the call of the VPP to discuss this issue inside and on the floor of the House but the failure of the government to take this matter seriously and call a special session to discuss this matter inside the House, this matter is now on the street,” he said.

Also referring to the ACHIK’s statement that he should approach the apex court, Basaiawmoit said that he and his party does not need any advice from them on how to solve this problem.

“We want to see that this problem is solved through a political solution and it is for them (ACHIK) to go if they want, if they have any problem, they can approach the court like what they have done recently,” he added.

A team of health professionals were deputed to keep a check on the over health condition of the MLA.

Hundreds of supporters are dropping by in batches, mostly women, in solidarity with the VPP president.

Other VPP MLAs – Adelbert, Brightstarwell and Heavingstone – are also present at the protest site but are not observing fasting.

VPP party workers are also continuing holding placards in front of their respective MLA's residences across the state.