Shillong: Meghalaya cabinet minister Paul Lyngdoh, from the United Democratic Party (UDP), on Monday said that Garos are “far more mature and astute, politically” as compared to the Khasis of the state.

Lyngdoh’s statement comes amid criticism over his failure to extend support to the Voice of the People Party (VPP) president’s hunger strike.

The cabinet minister, who shared that he cared less about the criticism, said that being an elected representative is not a drama competition where there is show of a hero and villain. As representatives, he said that the focus is on governance and policy making.

“Garos are far more mature and far more astute, politically, compared to us. We make a lot of unnecessary noise about a lot of things. But they have shown more wisdom and maturity,” the UDP minister said.

Citing instances, he said that a few noises were heard about a Khasi chief minister during the 2023 state elections. “There was no such clamor in the Garo hills. But what they did was put an end to all hopes of a Khasi CM, by ensuring that out of 24 seats in the Garo Hills sector, 18 seats went to the NPP and they did not make any noise about it,” said Lyngdoh.

He added that Khasis made all the noise and ended up lighting a spark that Khasis would be more comfortable having a CM from their own region, and accordingly voted vehemently in favor of the NPP.

Asked if reviewing the reservation policy will put an end to the unemployment crisis in Meghalaya, Lyngdoh said that the job policy will not bring an end to unemployment.

He explained that there are only 500 vacancies available with the state government in a year. The government sector, he observed, is a dwindling sector in terms of employment. 

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“In the 21st century, we should talk more about sectors like tourism, weaving, village tourism, about government aided projects, lots of opportunities. So, I feel that our sense of priorities is very wrong,” said Lyngdoh. 

The minister said that the real issues confronting the state are drug addiction, single mother families, child malnourishment, infant mortality rate, landlessness. “But why these issues don’t draw attention is because they do not have that element of instigating hate, and they are not populist. Hence, they are not popular issues,” expressed Lyngdoh.

Also Read | Meghalaya: 4 peddlers held in West Garo Hills with contraband items

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