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Push to drop Independents from MUA
SHILLONG, JAN 6:
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Published on 6 Jan. 2010 10:57 PM IST
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A group of Congress legislators in Meghalaya has decided to meet AICC leaders in Delhi to discuss the need to drop the three Independents from the Meghalaya United Alliance. The move comes a day after chief minister D.D. Lapang stripped Khun Hyniewtrep National Awakening Movement’s Paul Lyngdoh of the urban and municipal affairs portfolios. According to a report in The Telegraph, Congress members of various Assembly committees, who are going out of Shillong to visit several states to familiarise themselves with the working of Assemblies, will converge in Delhi and take the opportunity to meet AICC leaders on the need to drop the three Independents from the coalition. Senior Congress legislators had expected Lapang to drop the three Independents from the ministry to accommodate three senior legislators from the party who were left out when the coalition was formed in May last year after ousting the UDP-NCP led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA). However, yesterday’s reshuffle has only strengthened the Independents. While Independent minister Ismail Marak got the science and technology department, the main portfolios of Independents A.T. Mondal and Limison Sangma remained unchanged. After Lapang stripped Lyngdoh of his portfolio following the demand by at least seven Congress legislators, the target now are the three Independents. According to some Congress legislators, the Independent MLAs have become a liability as their performance has not been satisfactory. They said it was high time that the Congress, which has the highest number of 28 legislators in the House of 60, gets the maximum cabinet berths. The MUA cabinet, which has a total of 12 ministers, comprises six Congress members, including the chief minister, with two from the United Democratic Party, one from KHNAM and three Independents. The AICC secretary in-charge of Meghalaya, Maj. (retd) Ved Prakash, said there was no harm in discussing the grievances of the Congress legislators. However, he added that according to the rule, the MUA can have only 12 ministers in the 60-member House. It was easy to remove the Independents, the Congress legislators said, as they did not have any clear-cut agreement with the Congress, unlike political parties like KHNAM and the UDP.

 
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