Congress seeks new norms on cabinet size in northeast statesApril 20th, 2010 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS
Shillong, April 20 (IANS) The Congress Tuesday said a new yardstick has to be evolved for fixing the size of the council of ministers in northeast states to prevent political instability.
“A new yardstick must be evolved for the northeast in order to ensure stable governments in this region,” Congress Working Committee member Oscar Fernandez told IANS.
His statement is significant in the wake of the change of guard in Meghalaya which has seen four chief ministers in two years.
“We have seen a lot of instability in Meghalaya and in other parts of the northeast, but at the end we have to respond to the voice of the majority,” Fernandez said, when asked on the demand made by some northeast chief ministers to make changes in the 91st amendment to the Constitution.
The amendment limits the size of the council of ministers in states to no more than 15 percent of the number of seats in the legislature.
Outgoing Chief Minister D.D. Lapang claimed that pruning of the cabinet has affected the smooth functioning of the government.
“In a small state like Meghalaya, with 60 legislators, downsizing of the cabinet has become very difficult to accommodate the aspirations of various coalition partners, resulting in instability,” he said.
Lapang said during his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, he touched upon the issue of amending the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003.
Under the act, the size of the council of ministers in a state cannot exceed 15 percent of the number of seats in legislature. An exception was made for Goa, Sikkim, Mizoram - which have 40-member legislatures - where a maximum of 12 ministers were allowed in cabinet.
Political instability is not new to Meghalaya - the state has already seen three governments since the March 2008 election.
Lapang quit as chief minister Monday after he failed to meet the demands of rebel Congress legislators to drop Independent legislators and the lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement member from the 12-member cabinet.
The rebels also sought induction of senior Congress legislators in their place. When Lapang failed to do so, the rebels pressed for his removal.
Mukul M. Sangma who replaces Lapang, is Meghalaya’s 21st chief minister in 39 years and the fourth in a little over two years.
There have been just two occasions when a chief minister has completed the full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.
In the present 60-member legislature, the Congress has 28 legislators and enjoys the support of nine United Democratic Party (UDP) members. The NCP, the main opposition, has 15 legislators.
- Lapang appointed Meghalaya chief adviser - Apr 24, 2010
- Meghalaya scraps chief minister rank dole-out - Apr 27, 2010
- Lapang seeks bigger ministry in Meghalaya - Mar 06, 2010
- Some legislators want Sangma out: Meghalaya Congress chief - Apr 14, 2011
- Threat to Sangma's government in Meghalaya: Minister - Apr 12, 2011
- Meghalaya chief minister confident of completing term - Apr 16, 2011
- Meghalaya chief minister denies threat to government (LEAD) - Apr 15, 2011
- Congress to sort out leadership tussle in Meghalaya - Apr 01, 2010
- Lapang in Delhi as rebels demand his removal - Mar 17, 2010
- Rebel Meghalaya legislators seek chief minister's ouster - Jun 01, 2011
- Lapang meets Meghalaya governor as Congress faces rebellion - Apr 14, 2010
- Lapang quits, Congress legislators to meet in Shillong (Lead) - Apr 18, 2010
- Lapang admits losing majority support (Lead) - Apr 18, 2010
- Meghalaya chief minister's fate to be decided Monday - Apr 24, 2011
- Rebels demand Congress legislators' meeting in Meghalaya - Apr 26, 2011
Tags: amending the constitution, amendment act, cabinet size, chief minister, chief ministers, coalition partners, committee member, congress president sonia gandhi, congress working committee, council of ministers, independent legislators, khun, meghalaya, mizoram, northeast states, oscar fernandez, political instability, shillong, sikkim, yardstick