Last Updated: February 26, 2023, 16:51 IST
Guwahati [Gauhati], India
Rajender Pratap Shah with his son in their house in Jorabat along the Assam-Meghalaya border. (News18)
Jorabat is a village, suburban fringe and a junction which covers areas under both Ri-Bhoi district, Meghalaya and Kamrup Metropolitan district, Assam, with more parts in Kamrup and fewer in Ri-Bhoi
On Sunday morning, Rajender Pratap Shah, a businessman from Jorabat of Assam-Meghalaya border and merely six kilometres away from Assam capital Dispur, discusses the present political situation and mood in the ensuing Meghalaya elections with his son on the terrace garden of his multi-storied house overlooking the National Highway 37.
ALSO READ | BJP, NPP, Cong, TMC: Meghalaya Set to Get A Party Started Tomorrow | Players to Prep, Details Here
His son is a citizen of Assam and votes in the state election, while Rajender Pratap and his grandsons, living a few metres apart, exercise their franchise in Meghalaya.
The lifeline of Upper Assam connecting capital Guwahati, the NH 37 stretching from Khanapara (the entry point to Guwahati city) till Jorabat, the conjunction with Meghalaya national highway, bears a unique characteristic in the Meghalaya election.
Driving down the national highway, you see massive posters of political parties only on one side of the highway and normal business on the other.
NH 37: BETWEEN ASSAM AND MEGHALAYA
Jorabat is a village, suburban fringe and a junction which covers areas under both Ri-Bhoi district, Meghalaya and Kamrup Metropolitan district, Assam, with more parts in Kamrup and fewer in Ri-Bhoi.
The NH 37, in this stretch of the border between Assam and Meghalaya from Kanapara, comes within the Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya and lies on the right-hand, while Kamrup (Metro) on the left.
As the two states are yet to resolve their dispute over territory in six undecided areas, the NH37 symbolizes accord as people of two states on the either side live in perfect coordination. Basically, people living in this part of Meghalaya are more in Assam. They experience and feel the development and progress of Himanta Biswa Sarma government more than the Conrad Sangma-led MDA government of Meghalaya.
For all non-government and semi government needs of these people, Guwahati is close to their heart and so possibly the Chief Minister of Assam too.
‘PREFER THE ASSAM MODEL’
Rajender Pratap Shah’s father came to the then undivided Assam in 1942 seeking business and used to trade in Beltola, Sonapur and Byrinihat bazaar in his horse cart. The NH, which now divides him and his family from Assam, was not there. In 1962, he had the first fair price shop in undivided Assam. Today, he has his residences on either side of the national highway.
For most living along this national highway, ideal governance definitely means “the Assam model and the Himanta Biswa Sarma approach”, although their choices on February 27 shall definitely be governed by other coordinates.
POLLS ON FEB 27
A total of 369 candidates, including 36 women, are in the fray in the 59 Assembly constituencies of the state. The election in Sohiong constituency was adjourned due to the demise of a UDP candidate. Webcasting of polling will be held at about 1,000 polling stations to ensure fair and free polling in Meghalaya. Polling will take place in a total of 3,419 polling stations distributed across 59 constituencies of the Meghalaya Assembly.
Meanwhile, the Indo-Bangladesh borer in Meghalaya has been sealed to ensure free and fair election.
Read all the Latest Politics News here