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Sangma allocates portfolios of ministers
Correspondent Shillong, Jun 8:
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Published on 8 Jun. 2011 10:12 PM IST
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Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Wednesday reshuffled the portfolios of some of his ministers after the induction of three new ministers in his cabinet Tuesday.
Sangma, however, kept some of the key portfolios Finance, Commerce and Industries, Agriculture and Horticulture, Taxation, Planning, Tourism and Forest and Environment Tourism to himself.
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader-turned- Congress legislator A.L Hek, inducted in the Cabinet Tuesday along with Shitlang Pale and Saleng A Sangma (Congress legislators) was allotted with water resources, general administration department and information and technology.
The cabinet reshuffled came after two-month long revolt against him by18 rebel Congress legislators, including six minters demanding for his ouster as chief minister.
Saleng, one of the rebel legislators and now the youngest minister in Sangma’s cabinet has been given the charge of community and rural development, public works department (Building) and co-operation department.
While Pale, known to be Sangma’s loyalist has been allotted with public health engineering, legal metrology and home guards and civil defence.
Sangma had sacked four of his six rebel ministers – Prestone Tynsong, FW Momin, Augustine Marak and F.S.Cajee – for revolting against him reallocated the portfolios of his two cabinet ministers.
In the reallocation of portfolios, the chief minister stripped education and tourism portfolios from M. Ampareen Lyngdoh, the lone woman legislator in the 60-member house.
Sangma however rewarded her with the plum portfolios of urban affairs besides science and technology, municipal administration and housing.
R.C. Laloo has been divested of forest and environment besides sericulture and weaving from him was given additional charge of education, food and civil supplies and home (Jails). He will continue to look after revenue and disaster management, soil and water conservation.
However, the portfolios of five other cabinet ministers, including his deputy Rowell Lyngdoh who had publicly announced for his ouster were unchanged.
In the 12-member size cabinet, one seat is still vacant after Congress legislator S.W.Rymbai failed to turn up to take up the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhavan.
Sangma was sworn in as chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government April 20, 2010, after 21 of the 28 Congress legislators proposed him as the new Congress legislature party leader.
The Congress enjoys the support of UDP (9 members), HSPDP (2), KHNAM (1) and four independent members. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the main opposition in the state, has 15 members.
Sangma’s ouster move still a live issue: Momin
Meghalaya’s rebel Congress legislators, demanding for Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s ouster Wednesday reiterated their demand to convene a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting to discuss the leadership issue.
The rebel legislators stuck to their demand is significant despite Sangma having succeeded to lure four rebel legislators with ministerial berth.
Of the four rebel Congress legislators - Shitlang Pale, A.L.Hek and Saleng Sangma were inducted in the one-year-old Sangma’s cabinet Tuesday morning.
However, minister-designated Stanly Wiss Rymbai, failed to take the oath of office and secrecy at the Raj Bhavan after he complained of influenza.
“We have apprised Ahmed Patel (Sonia Gandhi’s political secretary) last evening of our grievances and he has assured us to direct Sangma to convene a CLP meeting to sort out the issue,” former community and rural development minister, F.W Momin said.
Momin, one among the four ministers sacked by Sangma, said that the rebel legislators have decided to continue to demand for Sangma’s ouster.
“Our demand is still alive and the chief minister must convene a CLP meeting to resolve the leadership issue,” Momin said.
Last evening, former chief minister D.D Lapang, who is being pitched by the rebel legislators as their new CLP leader met Patel at New Delhi and prevailed upon him on the political turmoil in the state.
However, when contacted, Sangma, said, “I am not supposed to discuss this with the media since it is an internal matter of the party.”
Meanwhile, the three newly inducted ministers - Shitlang Pale, A.L.Hek and Saleng Sangma said they agreed to join the Sangma’s cabinet to end political stalemate.
“We wanted to provide stability to the government in the interest of the State,” Hek, the water resources minister said.
According to political pundits, Rymbai absence from taking the oath of office and secrecy indicated that leadership issue in the CLP has not faded, but would further intensify political turmoil in the coming days.
Political instability appears to have become a permanent feature in Meghalaya, which has seen four governments since the March 2008 assembly elections.
Sangma was sworn in as chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government April 20, 2010, after 21 of the 28 Congress legislators proposed him as the new Congress legislature party leader.
The Congress enjoys the support of UDP (9 members), HSPDP (2), KHNAM (1) and four independent members. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the main opposition in the state, has 15 members.
Meghalaya has seen nine governments with varied combinations, resulting in eight chief ministers between 1998 and 2009. Since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972, only two chief ministers have completed their five-year terms.

 
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