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Elderly woman refuses freebies from Meghalaya poll candidates, returns them

SHILLONG: An elderly woman in Meghalaya, where Assembly poll will be held later this month, has allegedly refused to accept freebies from contestants in East Khasi Hills district and has returned the ‘gifts’ given to her family.

Purity Phawa, president of the women’s organisation in her locality, reportedly even told candidates’ agents in person that she wants to elect legislators and not distributors.

Election to all the 60 seats in the state Assembly will be held on February 27 and counting will be held on March 2.

Phawa’s family, which resides at Lumdiengjri in West Shillong constituency, had reportedly received freebies from the agents of ruling National People’s Party candidate Mohindro Rapsang and United Democratic Party (UDP) contest Paul Lyngdoh on January 28 and 30 respectively.

I was not at home when the freebies arrived. When I returned, my daughter told me that the candidates had sent us a pressure cooker and two sets of imported bowls on January 28 and 30, Phawa told PTI on Friday.

I called up the agents who had delivered the freebies and they confirmed that the candidates had sent the gifts. The UDP candidate sent a calendar too, she said.

Phawa claimed that she returned the freebies on Thursday and asked the candidates not to distribute them if they want to become legislators. “Or else they can choose to become distributors,” was her pithy rejoinder.

Phawa also claimed that she would meet the district election officers on Friday to formally inform them of the ‘freebies’ being distributed by the candidates in her constituency,

Rapsang, a first time MLA of the opposition Congress who switched over to the ruling NPP of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma recently, has been reportedly distributing pressure cookers to the voters publicly in the run up to the elections.

He vehemently denied giving any freebies and insisted that the pressure cookers are from his MLA funds.

Paul is a sitting member of the tribal council and a former MLA who lost to Rapsang in 2018.

When asked about the alleged freebies being distributed by their agents, both expressed ignorance. They said the model code of conduct is in place and there is no way the candidates could do so.

Source: Press Trust of India

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