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Kingdoms are no more, but politicians nowadays fight more for power than the kings did. Elected representatives in some countries spend most of their tenures in activities in order to saving their chair. Sometimes they even go bloody, engaging terrorist groups or henchmen to eliminate enemies. In recent times, Italy and France in Europe and Pakistan, Iraq and Thailand in Asia are some of the countries that have witnessed many topsy-turvy situations in the fight for political space. India has not faced any such drastic scenes at national level of late, but they are plenty in the states. Congress, which suffered a historic defeat in the hands of saffron Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, is the worst hit by struggle for power within the party.

North-east, which was the saving grace for Congress in the elections, is a big headache for the party besides Maharashtra. Party leaders in Assam and Meghalaya are shamelessly engaged in battle for “equal distribution of power”. Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi and his followers have appeared to have won a long battle with the rival group. It was not before the 78 party legislators making dozens of trips to-and-fro Delhi. In recent months, some of them were reported to be “camping” in Delhi for more days than they sat in their chambers in the state capital. They, however, don’t have any dearth of excuses of official “meetings” and “conferences” to prolong their stay in Delhi.

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma has also been fighting a long battle within the party to save his hot power seat. The fight has become more intense after his bête noire Purno Sangma, the former Lok Sabha Speaker, won the Tura seat for the ninth time. The senior Sangma, having support of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), this time has more weapons in his closet to cause trouble for the chief minister. The battle within the Congress for the chair of chief minister started months ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, and yet to die down. Twenty-nine elected MLAs of the party spent hundreds of hours, if not thousands, discussing and negotiating on the subject. Imagine what would be the output of an IAS officer if he has to go on thinking about securing his position. But, the people take it for granted when elected representatives openly fight for power. Such trends in democracy like India’s gives rise to thought if the public has a better chance of seeing lesser fights for power in kingdoms or dictatorship.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on July 26)

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