SHILLONG, Feb 23 (PTI): Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong has claimed that the BJP-led central government ignored demands for implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in the northeastern state, and the inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
The National People’s Party vice-president said he was saddened by the way the BJP “played politics” with issues concerning the people of Meghalaya, and hoped that voters will “punish” the saffron party.
“The BJP is responsible for not including Khasi and Garo in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. It is also responsible for non-implementation of ILP in the state. They failed to pay any heed to resolutions passed in the Meghalaya Assembly in this regard when the party was also a part of the state government. It will lose the polls without doubt,” Tynsong said in an interview to PTI.
The Meghalaya Assembly had passed resolutions on the two issues, urging the Centre to look into those.
Elections to the 60-member House will be held on February 27, and counting will take place on March 2.
Tynsong said Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had led delegations to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on several occasions in the past, urging them to consider the two demands.
“However, they did not pay much heed,” he claimed.
The British-era ILP is an official travel document that permits a person to travel to a protected area for a certain period.
The senior NPP leader asserted that people will “punish the BJP and its hopes of forming government in Meghalaya will remain a distant dream”.
“On March 2, NPP will cross the required number to form the government on its own…,” he added.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the ILP, the Congress said it stands for a new pragmatic law that goes with the present times.
Meghalaya Congress president Vincent Pala said historically the tribals, be it in the northeast or other parts of India, have a perception and fear that their land, wealth and jobs will be taken away by the majority.
“As a democracy, you need a government that understands their insecurities,” he told PTI.
He said that the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution is meant to protect the interests of the tribals.
“You must have a balanced law where we will be protected, while at the same time, we should develop and prosper, too,” said Pala, who is the MP from Shillong.
Stating that the Congress is not against the ILP, he said parity has to be maintained taking into account the potential of the people of Meghalaya.
“The tribals need protection. The best way to do that is not to stop people from coming here, but to give the locals more rights,” he said.