Three of four new Meghalaya ministers sworn-in

Amid a political drama, three new Congress ministers – A L Hek, Saleng Sangma and Shitlang Pale – were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor R S Mooshahary at Raj Bhavan.

However, Umroi MLA S W Rymbai, who was also scheduled to be sworn-in today did not turn up for the ceremony. Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said Rymbai had communicated that he was unwell. There were indications that Rymbai's swearing-in would be held later when he is fit.

A number of detractors of Mukul Sangma, including the four dropped ministers did not attend the swearing-in ceremony. At least eight dissident Congress legislators, including former Chief Minister D D Lapang are camping in New Delhi since the last few days. While the four axed ministers are yet to tender their resignations, the Chief Minister asserted that, "If they fail to resign, they will be considered as dropped".

In the 12-member cabinet in Meghalaya, the Congress has nine berths and its ally the United Democratic Party has two seats. There is one independent MLA in the cabinet. Congress ministers Ampareen Lyngdoh and R C Laloo attended the swearing-in, besides senior leaders of the Opposition NCP and the Congress ally in the UDP government.

The Chief Minister showed the door to four of the rebel ministers Prestone Tyngsong (PHE, General Administration, and Science and Technology), F W Momin (Community and Rural Development, Cooperation and Water Resources), Augustine D Marak (Food and Civil Supplies, Civil Defence and Home Guards) and Founder Cajee (Fisheries and Urban Affairs).

It has been over four months since the detractors of Sangma are making manoeuvres seeking a change in the CLP leader, frequently visiting the national capital to air their grievances against the chief minister before AICC leaders. State Rural Development Minister F W Momin, who was the most vocal among the dissidents and camping in the national capital along with some other dissident Congress MLA, had said, "Sangma has lost majority. We want a change of leadership and immediate holding of Congress Legislature Party meeting to elect a new chief minister".

Momin had claimed that six of the nine ministers of the Mukul Sangma government, including Deputy Chief Minister Rowel Lyngdoh, have lost confidence in the chief minister and want a change of leadership. Sangma was sworn in as chief minister on April 20, 2010, after 21 of the 28 Congress legislators revolted against then chief minister D D Lapang.

Sangma's government is the 22nd government the state saw in its 38 year statehood which is marked by frequent political turbulence.

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