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Mukul to succeed Lapang
Correspondent SHILLONG, APR 17
Published on 18 Apr. 2010 12:32 AM IST
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In a dramatic turn of political events, the rebel Congress’ legislators have pledged their support to Mukul M Sangma as the successor of Chief Minister DD Lapang.
Sangma, a trusted aide and the number two man in the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance coalition government was “unanimously chosen” as Lapang’s successor by 21 of the 28 Congress legislators at a meeting late last night.
“Mukul has 21 (Congress) MLAs with him and he will be soon elected as our new Congress Legislature Party leader,” a Congress legislator said.
The meeting held at Sangma’s private residence was attended by rebel Congress legislators who had earlier projected assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope as Lapang’s replacement. They have now pledged “unconditional support” to Sangma.
“They (Congress legislators) have pledged their unconditional support to me for the sake of unity in the Congress Legislature Party,” Sangma told Nagaland Post.
“I am happy that this stalemate would be sorted out soon with the intervention of the Congress leadership,” he said before leading his Congress legislators to New Delhi.
Before dashing off to New Delhi, Sangma and Tynsong called on Governor R.S. Mooshahary and apprised him of the political development.
Lapang, who has weathered political storms on several occasions made it clear, “If I lose majority support, I will go by any decision the party high command takes.”
The Chief Minister is camping at New Delhi on the summon of Congress President Sonia Gandhi to sort out the leadership issue.
Though Lapang is yet to get an audience with Gandhi, but he went into huddle with Gandhi’s political secretary Ahmed Patel and Congress General Secretary in-charge Meghalaya Luizinho Faleiro to iron out the issue.
Senior Congress legislator and Forest environment minister, RC Laloo who belatedly jumped into the Chief Ministerial race is against Sangma’s elevation as a Chief Minister arguing that he is junior to him.
Soon after assembly elections in 2008, Lapang was sworn as chief minister, his fourth stint, for just 10 days.
Thereafter, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) backed United Democratic Party (UDP)-led five-party coalition took office with UDP chief Donkupar Roy as the chief minister, but barely within a year the coalition was dismissed and the state was brought under president’s rule.
Lapang, however, engineered dissension within the NCP-UDP coalition and managed to reclaim his job with the help of three independent ministers of the Roy ministry.
In the 60-member legislature, the Congress has 28 legislators and has the support of 10 UDP members, five independents and one KHNAM legislator. The main opposition NCP has 15 legislators.

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