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Leaders of armed revolutions often hold those seats of power once they fought against. But everyone cannot become a Fidel Castro. They end up succumbing to the ‘system’. Once they are exposed to the easy access to wealth, they try to get accustomed to the so-called system. Sometimes, these revolutionaries turn up worse than the leaders whom they ousted from power. Very soon, the people start realising – oh, it was a mistake to elect them to power! They are no better than the others! They are often seen faded into oblivion. They cannot sustain the glory they had during the ‘revolution’.

Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was a revered name in Assam because of his leadership in the anti-influx agitation. The momentum of his popularity gave him two stints in power. But today, he is littered with taints of scams. He is blamed for downfall of Assam’s ‘very own’ party Asom Gana Parishad. He is no longer a force to reckon with. The people may not have imagined about this kind of a situation when lakhs gathered for the AGP leaders’ swearing in ceremony at Judges’ Field in Guwahati in 1985. Same is the case with Meghalaya’s surrendered Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) chairman Julius Dorphang and his colleague James Sylliang. They are no longer any force to reckon with. Despite being elected public representatives now, they have are not seen doing significant work for welfare of their communities.

Meghalaya might be having another set of ‘revolutionaries’ holding the seats of power very soon. The leaders of now-disbanded Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) and its breakaway group ANVC-B are waiting with bated breath for the election to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC). In fact, the two outfits agreed to join ‘mainstream’ on condition that the GHADC seats would be increased in order to accommodate them. Although the elections are going to be held with the same number of 29 seats, the former rebels have geared up to join the election battle. Given their present popularity – and not to overlook the money and muscle power – some of them are likely to become public representatives. It will be interesting then to see with all powers in hand how far they would carry forward their Garo nationalistic agenda.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on July 24)