Shillong, January 10: In its campaign to bar the political parties from contesting the elections to autonomous district councils, the traditiol heads under the Grand Council of Chiefs of Meghalaya have sought the support of all the political parties in the State. The Grand Council of Chiefs is also drumming for support to facilitate the traditiol bodies in playing a constitutiol role in the mooted re–structuring process of the Constitution.
The Grand Council of Chiefs, known for its consistent unsuccessful forays to get constitutiol recognition, dispatched letters to the presidents of all the political parties on Saturday. The Grand Council of Chiefs wanted the district councils to be ‘apolitical’ entity and it is soliciting the political parties support for the same during the consultative meet called by the State Chief Minister on January 16 at Yoj Bhavan in Shillong.
The Chief Minister has convened a meeting of all the state holders in order to arrive at a consensus on the proposals to be made to the Centre on the proposed amendment of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution during the budget session of Parliament.
Speaking to newsmen in Shillong on Saturday, the Spokesman of the Grand Council of Chiefs, John F Kharshiing made it clear that the traditiol heads wanted a “party–less” autonomous district council. He cited the amendment of the Meghalaya Municpal Act 2000 where a candidate cannot contest the municipal polls on the ticket of a political party and desired that the same yardstick should apply to the district councils. “We want this same logic to be applied in the district councils and this is the voice that emated from the traditiol heads and councils throughout the State,” asserted Kharshiing while emphasizing on the role of traditiol institutions in the State polity.
The spokesman also contended that a “party–less” district council will set aside all political differences and help in retaining and preserving the customary laws and practices existing in the Khasi, jaintia and garo Hills. Alluding to the text of agreement signed between the government and the disbanded ANVC and ANVC–B which envisage the idea of nomiting five Nokmas (traditiol Garo Chiefs) to the restructured Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), Kharshiing said, “We are not against it… but we do not want the nomition to be made on party lines”.
“Traditiol heads cannot be identified with any political party,” Kharshiing, himself is a full–fledged member of tiol political party, argued.
Confiding that there are political parties who are reluctant to accept the thoughts, the spokesman also listed another option. “The government can provide the traditiol chiefs with a regiol council.”