TURA, March 27 � The NPP election bandwagon moved to the East Garo Hills region with former Lok Sabha Speaker and Tura candidate Purno Agitok Sangma asserting the need for creation of a Garoland state carved out of Meghalaya.
The veteran addressed three rallies in East Garo Hills, earlier a NPP stronghold, now a Congress bastion, in the run-up to the April 9 poll. He pitched this time for Garoland, a cry he first made two days ago in an election rally in Resubelpara.
He stressed the importance of dialogue and the democratic process for the voice of the people to be heard. He stressed, �The voice of the people is more powerful than grenades or AKs. I seek your vote for Garoland. Your fight for creation of Garoland by guerrilla movement is not correct. Be a voice for the A�chik and eschew violence. I will lead the fight and ensure that Garoland is created,� he said and asked all militant groups to come forward to raise their voice through means other than violence.
He continued: �I will raise my pitch at the highest level in the Parliament. If we all unite and raise our voice, it will definitely be heard. It is not an essay task but we can make it happen�.
Seeking renewed public support for the movement for the creation of a Garoland state, he asserted: �If you vote NPP, you vote for Garoland, or if you vote for money or alcohol, you know what to do�.
In an interview later, Purno justified the demand for a new state saying, �I was waiting for the right time to raise my voice. The Garos have an aspiration for the creation of a separate homeland. It is a question of our pride and identity. We have all felt the need for a new state, but since the time is now right, I want to start the process again.�
He said he would be content to start the fight with the current 5 districts of Meghalaya and is not for the inclusion of all areas which are dominated by the Garo populace, like Goalpara and West Khasi Hills.