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Lapang bows out; Mukul to be next chief minister
Correspondent SHILLONG, APR 18:
Published on 19 Apr. 2010 12:09 AM IST
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Beleaguered Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang Sunday submitted his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi as leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) after a month-long demand for his ouster.
Lapang would submit his resignation as Chief Minster to the Governor RS Mooshahary Monday after he land here from New Delhi to dissolve the Council of Ministers and pave way for his deputy Mukul M Sangma as the next Chief Minister.
“The Congress President has accepted Lapang’s resignation, but Lapang will officially submit his resignation letter to the Governor tomorrow,” Urban Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong told Nagaland Post.
Lapang had submitted the resignation during the hour-long meeting with Gandhi in presence of Sangma, AICC leaders and other Congress MLAs. “Lapang met Gandhi this evening and apprised her of the developments. The CLP meeting is likely to be held in Shillong tomorrow evening to elect the new leader,” a senior Congress legislator said over phone from New Delhi. A meeting of the alliance partners of the Congress in the government is also expected to be held later, he said.
Before meeting Gandhi, Lapang had admitted that he has lost majority in the Congress Legislature Party and said that he was ready to quit making way for his deputy Mukul Sangma to take over.
“Mukul Sangma has the majority. I met the MLAs (who are in Delhi). I asked them, they said yes. I asked him to go ahead. I will tell Sonia Gandhi about this,” Lapang said over phone from New Delhi. Backed by ‘majority’ of Congress MLAs, deputy chief minister Mukul Sangma had yesterday rushed to Delhi. Sangma is learnt to have met senior AICC leaders Oscar Fernandes and Luizinho Falerio this morning.
Summoned by the AICC in a bid to find a solution to the leadership row, Lapang is camping in New Delhi while Sangma reached the capital today with 14 Congress MLAs including 10 dissidents who had sought Lapang’s ouster.
The ruling alliance, sworn in last year after the fall of the NCP-led government, enjoys the support of 44 MLAs -- 28 of Congress, 9 of UDP, two of Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, one of Khyun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and four Independents in the House of 60.
At least 21 out of 28 Congress legislators have “unanimously” chosen Sangma as the new CLP leader, while demanding Lapang’s ouster.
For Lapang, this is his second political defeat after he relinquished his Chief Ministerial chair barely ten days after assuming office with the Congress unable to prove its majority to form the government in March 2008.
He, however, made a bounce back by winning the support of two Independents and president of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement Party (KHNAM), Paul Lyngdoh a year later.
Congress legislators earlier demanded that Lapang should drop the two Independents - Ismail R. Marak and Limison Sangma - and KHNAM president, Paul Lyngdoh and allot those chairs to Congress MLAs. Lapang didn’t listen and the rebels pushed the exit-Lapang button. With Sunday’s development the political stalemate, Meghalaya is set to witness the fourth government in two years.
Soon after assembly elections in 2008, Lapang was sworn in 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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