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Sangma drops 4 rebel ministers, inducts 3
Correspondent Shillong, JUNE 7:
Published on 8 Jun. 2011 12:07 AM IST
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In what can be termed as a damage control exercise, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma today dropped four of his rebel cabinet ministers and inducted three new ministers in their place.
Governor R.S. Mooshahary administered the oaths of office and secrecy to the newly-inducted ministers at a simple function organised in the Darbar Hall of Raj Bhavan in the morning.
Sangma Monday evening had submitted the names of four Congress legislators -- S.W. Rymbai, Shitlang Pale, Saleng Sangma and Bharatiya Janata Party leader-turned-Congress legislator Alexander Hek -- to Mooshahary to be inducted in the ministry.
Rymbai, however, failed to turn up at the Darbar Hall to take oath as a cabinet minister.
During the whole swearing-in ceremony, the Chief Minster remained edgy by the conspicuous absence of Rymbai, who until late Monday night collected his appointment letter as cabinet minister from Sangma’s residence.
“He (Rymbai) has officially informed the Raj Bhavan that he was unwell, so he couldn’t come today” a visibly upset Sangma said when journalists asked about Rymbai’s absence.
Rymbai is said to be close to former Chief Minster DD Lapang. He won the Umroi bye election in 2009 largely with the blessings of Lapang who was heading the state then.
Sangma, sources said, wanted to lure Rymbai within his fold by offering him a ministerial berth and thereby divide Lapang-loyalist.
On the other hand, one of the new ministers said he was “unhappy” and was “pressurised” to be part in the swearing-in ceremony.
Eighteen of the 28 Congress legislators led by former chief minister D.D Lapang are demanding for Sangma’s ouster as chief minister. The rebel Congress legislators claimed Sangma has lost their confidence.
However, with backdoor politicking on both by Lapang and Sangma-camp, legislators are changing their loyalty like shifting-sand every moment.
Sangma has made it clear that he wouldn’t tolerate anyone questioning his authority. Therefore, he has dropped four of his former cabinet ministers -, FW Momin, Founder Cajee, Prestone Tyngsong and Augustine D Marak.
Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh, who had openly announced that Sangma had lost his majority as Congress Legislature Party leader, would continue to remain in Sangma’s cabinet.
“There is nothing new in cabinet reshuffles. We want an effective and coherent cabinet to run the state,” Sangma said about his move to induct new faces in the cabinet.
Asked if his old cabinet was not “effective and coherent,” Sangma, without himself getting into details, said: “you have to read between the lines.” Sangma later this afternoon convened a cabinet meeting and discussed various agendas. No cabinet meeting was possible for the past two months due to the ongoing infighting.
Meanwhile, the Congress rebels this morning met All India Congress Committee members in New Delhi to discuss the present political scenario and also demanded that a CLP meet should be held to discuss their grievances.
“We were assured by the AICC members that a meeting with Sonia Gandhi would be fixed later this evening to air their grievances directly to the party president,” Lapang said.

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