Meghalaya: UDP petitions EC against ministers, MLAs of CM's party for ‘misusing’ farmers scheme

The scheme was launched to give succour to farmers. Under it, a seed money of Rs 5,000 is given to each farmer producers’ group to help it scale up operations.

Published: 22nd December 2022 03:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd December 2022 03:54 PM   |  A+A-

Conrad Sangma

Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma. (File | PTI)

By Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The United Democratic Party (UDP), a key component of Meghalaya’s ruling coalition which Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) heads, has petitioned the Election Commission, alleging that some NPP legislators were doling out cash to non-farmers against a scheme meant for the farming community.

In a letter to the EC, the UDP accused some NPP ministers and MLAs of misusing the FOCUS and FOCUS+ programmes.

The scheme was launched to give succour to farmers. Under it, a seed money of Rs 5,000 is given to each farmer producers’ group to help it scale up operations.

But the UDP alleged the NPP legislators were blatantly distributing money against the scheme to people in urban areas where farming is not possible. Given the state of affairs, the party said the scheme now turned out to be politically-motivated.

“The sole intention of the flagship initiative is to buy votes,” UDP president Paul Lyngdoh alleged. Assembly elections in the state are expected in February.

Lyngdoh said the scheme was rural-based and meant for the farmers. He criticised the state government for launching it in the urban West Shillong Assembly constituency at an NPP rally which was organised to welcome the party’s office bearers.

The UDP leader warned the government of complications in the future, citing that there is no agricultural land in the West Shillong constituency. He said the next government might ask the beneficiaries to refund the money.

The BJP, also an ally of the NPP, was the first to raise the issue. Recently, it alleged the government was using the scheme to entice voters. The BJP had alleged the workers of the NPP were going to people in urban areas and asking for their bank account details to transfer money from the scheme.

Despite being allies and constituents of the government, the UDP and the BJP did not let go any opportunity to go hard at the NPP. The BJP particularly has been vitriolic in its attack all along. 

The party slammed the government on the various charges of corruption and irregularities against it. Once, it threatened to withdraw support and set the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate after the government.


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