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Tension Mounts Ahead of Meghalaya Budget Session Over Hindi Speech

Meghalaya's opposition party has warned of boycotting the Governor’s address if delivered in Hindi.
Meghalaya's opposition party has warned of boycotting the Governor’s address if delivered in Hindi.

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With the upcoming budget session of the Meghalaya Assembly looming, the opposition Voice of the People Party (VPP) has issued a warning, stating they will boycott the Governor's address if it is delivered in Hindi, according to a report by The Shillong Times. The VPP's stance has triggered a response from the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), emphasising the importance of providing an English translation to all legislators.

The MDA, in response to the VPP's objection, asserts that as long as all legislators are informed about the content of the Governor's address and receive an English translation, there should be no grounds for opposition. 

MDA spokesperson and Cabinet Minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, in a statement on Saturday, emphasised transparency and understanding among legislators. Lyngdoh insisted that for Hindi to be used in the legislative Assembly, an English translation should be provided to non-Hindi speaking legislators to ensure comprehension.

Lyngdoh, who had previously protested the Governor's address in Hindi during her tenure as an MLA, stressed the need for a democratic presentation of the government's plans and objectives. She recalled instances where legislators struggled to understand the entire speech, advocating using translation through headphones to enhance clarity.

“We must ensure that there is a democratic presentation of the plans and objectives of the government in the next five years and that should be understood by all MLAs and legislators sitting inside the House,” she told The Shillong Times.

The VPP's threat to boycott the Governor's address has faced criticism from the State BJP. BJP leader M Kharkrang defended the use of Hindi, stating, "Hindi is a national language. How can we stop that (address)? Even English is a national language. If you don't allow Hindi, then how can you accept English?" Kharkrang cautioned against turning the matter into a political agenda, urging a focus on development.

Cabinet Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader AL Hek echoed similar sentiments, highlighting that Hindi is spoken in various assemblies and the Parliament. He emphasised the need to concentrate on development for the betterment of Meghalaya, discouraging debates on language.

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