Vote out the corrupt, urge religious leaders – The Shillong Times

Call to break unholy nexus between politicos & businessmen

SHILLONG: Religious leaders in the state have exhorted the electorate to vote the right candidates to power in the upcoming Assembly polls, even as they raised concerns over pressing issues such as money power in politics, corruption and the non-fulfillment of aspirations of a vast section of the populace.
Discussion inevitably veered towards the forthcoming election as The Shillong Times interacted with leaders of a few religious groups in the state about the Swadesh Darshan Scheme of the Central government, which aims at promoting spiritual tourism by giving a facelift to select spiritual sites in Meghalaya.
Senior executive secretary of Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian (KJP) Synod Sepngi, Rev SS Majaw said the church is encouraging its members to keep the upcoming Assembly election in its prayers.
Apart from discouraging its members from indulging in use of money in elections, Rev Majaw said, “The electorate should start to question what have been the contributions of the sitting legislators for the development of the state.”
“People mostly blame administrators but they forget to examine whether the right candidates were nominated in the first place and whether they deserve to be people’s representatives,” he added.
Commenting on the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Majaw said no church has applied for the scheme.
Recently, Archbishop Dominic Jala had said, “We need people who are ready to change, the legislators who are really set to make laws and policies and make things happen to bring about change.”
He had also maintained that people need a government with long-term vision.
Naba Bhattacharjee, president of Central Puja Committee (CPC), said the people of the state should give priority to transparency in governance and rooting out corruption, which he said was a “major issue”.
“Public representatives should be committed to the people. Meghalaya has attained statehood for over 45 years but other states are ahead of us,” he noted.
Pointing out that in many parts of the country the rural areas are more developed than the urban parts, Bhattacharjee said the scenario was diametrically opposite in Meghalaya.
He urged the electorate to select only those candidates who are committed to bring transparency in governance. “There should be holistic development and leaders must maintain the secular ethos of the Constitution,” he said, adding that the nexus between politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats needs to be broken.
Speaking on the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, he pointed out the need for a broad-based interaction with all religious groups and called for an in-depth study of the scheme. He said a joint committee should be set up to monitor the programme and devise ways for its successful implementation.
Commenting on the forthcoming polls, Noor Nongrum, assistant general secretary of Shillong Muslim Union, said: “Expectations are high but they are seldom fulfilled. It is to be fervently hoped that Meghalaya gets a stable government.”
Asked about the Swadesh Darshan Scheme, Nongrum replied: “On one hand, it is the BJP’s appeasement politics and a strategy to malign other political parties. On the other hand, however, it is a welcome move as they have approached all communities.”
Meanwhile, the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church stated in a press release that the Union Tourism Ministry’s Swadesh Darshan Scheme “is unacceptable” and that the church would not avail of its benefits in order to uphold its sanctity.
It referred to a news item that appeared in a section of the Press claiming that the Mawkhar Presbyterian Church was one of the beneficiaries of the Central government project which envisages giving a facelift to religious sites in the state, including churches. Matters related to the development of the Church, the release says, are the exclusive prerogative of the members of the Church.