SHILLONG (TIP): It’s International Mother LanguageDay and campaigning for Saturday’s assembly polls is atits peak with political parties reaching out to varioussections of the electorate in their respective mothertongues.Speeches are being delivered in Hindi, Bengali,Assamese, Nepalese, Khasi and, of course, English inthe cosmopolitan hill city, in keeping with the true spiritof the historical day, which is observed worldwide topromote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversityand multilingualism. It was on this day in 1952 that fourstudents achieved martyrdom in Dhaka, Bangladesh,while demanding declaration of Bangla as the officiallanguage of the then East Pakistan.
“Shillong being a cosmopolitan urban centre, which ishome to several communities, it is important for us toreach out to the people with our plans and programmesin their own languages,” said a senior strategist of apolitical party.”In fact, candidates are using the services ofinterpreters while campaigning in different localities ofthe city,” he pointed out even as a prominent sittinglegislator’s Khasi speech was being translated in Bengalion the dais.Political parties are also trying to reach out to votersthrough catchy songs in different languages. Manyparties have brought out special music CDs solicitingvotes in the run-up to the election.
Supporters singing these songs, punctuated by sloganshouting, drummed up a frenzy as they drove aroundthe city in vehicles, party flags fluttering.Almost a fortnight of campaigning through fieryspeeches, lilting music and blaring songs came to an endThursday evening with all sorts of politicking ceasingas mandated by the Election Commission of India.All wine stores and bars have downed shutters forfour days as per direction of the election department.With electioneering picking up steam with D Dayjust about 48 hours away, reports poured in ofheated encounters between supporters of candidatesin several constituencies in East Khasi Hillsdistrict.
The deputy commissioner, who is also thedistrict election officer, imposed prohibitions underSection 144 CrPC in the entire district withimmediate effect.”There is likelihood of law and order problemsleading to danger to human life, health, safety anddisturbance to public tranquility,” justified a releaseissued by the DC.”Adequate security arrangements involving statepolice and paramilitary forces have been made allacross the state, especially along the interstateboundary with Assam and international border withBangladesh,” assured a top police official. “Vehiclesare being randomly checked all over,” he added.