Shillong: The Meghalaya Legislative Assembly on Monday witnessed a heated discussion between Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and Umroi MLA George Lyngdoh after the CM accused Lyngdoh of lying and misleading the House about not taking stakeholders on board while resolving the Assam-Meghalaya boundary dispute.
Questioning the CM, Lyngdoh asked why the government had gone ahead with the second phase of talks on the border dispute without any stakeholders on board.
Sangma responded that discussion is a process and not a single-day event. He added the process has started and as it moves on they will include, invite, discuss, and have public hearings and multiple meetings. “We will move ahead with discussions only after consulting all the stakeholders,” the CM said.
In response, Lyngdoh said that this question was raised since all these things did not happen in Phase 1 of border talks.
Lyngdoh said it was only after the conclusion of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that the stakeholders objected to areas given away to Assam by the state government. “So we hope the CM will stick to this particular process narrated in the House,” said Lyngdoh.
Rebutting the Umroi MLA’s claim, Sangma mentioned that it was sad to see the MLA misleading the House completely.
“I can say what the honourable member is saying is a complete lie. The process of the first phase saw multiple stakeholder meetings. For the first time, ministers and concerned officials went to ground zero and had multiple public hearings which are on record,” Sangma said.
Urging Lyngdoh to refrain from making misleading statements, the Meghalaya CM said that this was not a press conference and Lyngdoh should act as a responsible member of the House.
“I cannot say that every individual has been involved but the concerned stakeholders were part of it,” Sangma said.
Lyngdoh, responding to the CM, said that as per Rules of the House, personal aspersions cannot be cast on the members even as he added that the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council passed a resolution opposing the MoU.
“We have people up in arms who are saying they don’t want to go to Assam,” replied Lyngdoh.
While the CM kept rebutting, Lyngdoh asked if the government would take the House into consideration in the second phase of discussions with Assam.
Replying to this, the CM said that the member has been mixing a lot of words and trying to bring emotions into this entire thing, though he understands it is an emotional issue.
“For him to jump to a conclusion that because there was discontentment and that we never talked with stakeholders is misleading,” clarified Sangma.
He stated that some people may not be happy with the MoU but that does not mean that discussions did not take place with stakeholders.
“A complicated subject like this cannot have every single individual agreeing to every single decision, that is why the government has to take a decision and it is not easy for us,” Sangma said.
Since the issue is a sensitive one, the CM requested the members not to play politics on this long pending matter for which people have had sleepless nights.
“If we do that we are going against the interest of our own people. Refrain from politics and don’t give generic statements,” the CM said.
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