Shillong: Under pressure from student
and social organizations who had announced a week-long
shutdown, Meghalaya government today deferred the municipal
elections, slated for next month.
This is the third time in a year that the government
has been forced to defer the municipal elections which were to
be the first civic polls since Meghalaya attained statehood.
The protesting organizationscontend that the election
to municipalities will lead to erosion of powers of the
traditional bodies like the tribal village chiefs.
Urban Affairs Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh today held a
series of meetings at Tura with elected representatives,
political parties, the protesting organizations before
reviewing the law and order scenario in the three districts of
Garo hills with senior officials of the administration.
After the meetings, the government decided to defer
the election apprehending law and order problems due to the
protests, official sources said.
The organisations included the Garo Students Union
(GSU), All India Garo Union (AIGU), Federation of Khasi and
Jaintia, Garo People (FKJGP) and other like-minded NGOs
The Joint Action Committee, a conglomerate of social
and student organizations, had called for a seven-day shutdown
in the three districts of Garo hills from July 15.
The government had earlier notified the polls to the
Baghmara Municipal Board and Williamnagar Municipal Board in
Garo hills for August 6 and 15 respectively.
The Gauhati High Court had directed the state
government to hold the municipal elections in the state before
The state government had earlier made two attempts to
hold the first ever civic polls in the state in the four
municipalities of Garo hills but had to abandon its plans
after the election authorities were compelled to postpone the
polls twice in two months since September last year in the
wake of large scale violent protests.
Ever since statehood in 1972, Meghalaya has never
conducted civic polls and nominated administrator of the State
Government governs the Municipality Boards.