Nongpoh, June 6: Former MPCC President and Umsning MLA, Dr Celestine Lyngdoh, has strongly criticized the Voice of the People Party (VPP) over creating the recent turmoil regarding the Job Reservation Policy. Addressing a meeting organized by the Congress party in Umsning, Dr Celestine questioned the VPP’s lack of clarity on the desired changes to the Reservation Policy.
Explaining his silence on the matter, Dr Celestine stated, “There is no understanding as to what is right and wrong at this point in time.” Mentioning that pressure groups and NGOs had condemned him for not speaking out, he stressed on the need for a clear understanding of the proposed changes.
Dr Celestine further expressed that, “The VPP or Bah Ardent have not clarified what they truly want from the government regarding the Reservation Policy and how they want it changed.”
Regarding the inclusion of the Garo community in the fight for reservation, Dr Celestine highlighted the importance of their involvement. He stated that if the Garos were willing to support the cause alongside the Khasis, it would be easier to advocate for a favourable Reservation Policy. However, he warned that if the Garos did not participate, they might seek their rights through the High Court or Supreme Court.
On the formation of an expert committee to discuss the Reservation Policy, he stressed that the committee could not bypass the Mandal Commission Report, and all decisions would be subject to scrutiny by the High Court and the Supreme Court. He mentioned that the Supreme Court restricts reservations to a maximum of 50%, but Meghalaya enjoys an exemption with 80% reservation.
Calling for clarity from the VPP, Dr Celestine criticized the lack of information regarding the changes demanded in the Reservation Policy and expressed disappointment that the hunger strike by VPP Chief and Nongkrem legislator, Ardent Basaiawmoit, had ended without a clear statement from the VPP.
“The VPP should properly clarify to the public as to what changes in the Reservation Policy are they agitating for… they are the ones who went on hunger strike (which has been called off) but the VPP has still not yet clarified the general public on the changes they demand… this is all madness and unnecessary drama,” he remarked.
He further said, “After the formulation of the Expert Committee and the indefinite hunger strike carried (Bah Ardent) has stopped, I am saddened to tell you that once the Expert Committee states that from here onwards the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people will only have 60% to share between them whereas we enjoyed a special 80% reservation before this protest and in that matter what or who shall we be? winners or losers.”
Highlighting the potential consequences of the High Court’s involvement, Dr Celestine warned that the court had the power to reduce the reservation from 80% to 60% or even 55%. He accused the VPP of misleading the public and criticized their request to implement the Roster System, which had never been in place before.