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VPP legislators walk out during Meghalaya Governor’s maiden address to Assembly

VPP legislator Ardent Miller Basiawmoit rose to his feet and objected Chauhan’s address to members of House in Hindi.

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Shillong:The Budget session of the Meghalaya Assembly began on stormy note on Monday as opposition legislators of the Voice of People Party (VPP) staged a walkout in protest against Governor Phagu Chauhan for addressing the House in Hindi.

Chauhan, a veteran politician from Hindi-speaking State of Uttar Pradesh, had just started to read
his maiden speech in Hindi during the first day of the Assembly’s budget session.

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VPP legislator Ardent Miller Basiawmoit rose to his feet and objected Chauhan’s address to members of House in Hindi.

Basaiawmoit urged Speaker Thomas Sangma that the Governor should address the House in English.

However, the Speaker asked the VPP leader to sit down and not interrupt the Governor’s address, which the latter refused to do so and continued to disrupt till he and his three other fellow legislators staged a walkout.

Quoting Rule 20 of the rules of procedures and conduct in the House, the VPP legislator said that the language of the Assembly is English.

“May I inform the Governor that Meghalaya is not a Hindi speaking state . I would like to remind each one of us that the people and leaders of this state decided to part ways with Assam because the Assam government tried to impose Assamese as an official language. We should not allow this
to become a tradition in this August House,” Basaiawmoit said.

Attacking the BJP-led government at the centre for its delay to include the Khasi and Garo languages in the Eight Schedule of the Constitution, the VPP legislator said, “The Government of India didn’t pay any heed to the demand of the state for inclusion of Khasi and Garo in the Eight Schedule thereby depriving us in various ways . I want to appeal to you that the Governor should address to us in the language that we all understand. I don’t want that we will proceed and start shouting slogans if the Governor address to us in Hindi .

Intervening into the matter, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma informed the House that a written speech in English has been out in the House and distributed to the members.

“If an individual is not able to read in English then we cannot impose it on the individual, the written speech has been circulated in the House. He is not doing it because he wants to do it. He is doing it because he has limitations of reading. It is sad that the Govenor is being disrespect in this way,” the Chief Minister told the House.

Though the Speaker and the Chief Minister Conrad Sangma informed the House that the translated copies of the speech were circulated, Basaiawmoit said the gesture of the governor addressing the House in Hindi is not acceptable as the official language of the House is English.

As Governor Chauhan went on to read his speech, the four VPP legislators shouted slogans down down!, and walked out of the house.

“As a mark of protest, we will not accept this kind of imposition from Delhi sending Hindi speaking Governors to our State. We don’t understand what they are talking so we will stage a walkout and those who don’t feel insulted they may stay in their seats,” Basaiawmoit said.

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