Lapang meets Meghalaya governor as Congress faces rebellion

April 14th, 2010 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Shillong, April 14 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang Wednesday met Governor R.S. Mooshahary for the second time in nine days amid growing demand for his ouster among Congress legislators.
“Yes, I met the governor this (Wednesday) morning and there is nothing to say now,” Lapang told IANS.

An aide of chief minister claimed that Lapang’s meeting with Mooshahary was to effect a reshuffle in the 12-member cabinet to placate Congress rebels.

Lapang’s meeting with Mooshahary is significant as Congress president Sonia Gandhi has summoned Meghalaya Congress chief Friday Lyngdoh to New Delhi to discuss the political deadlock in the state.

At least 16 rebels out of the party’s 28 legislators in the 60-member assembly have demanded Lapang’s removal on charges that the state has not made any progress under his leadership.

The rebels have reportedly projected assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope as Lapang’s replacement.

On April 5, the rebels faxed a letter to Gandhi, reiterating their demand to remove Lapang.

“We are all united on our demand to elect a new Congress legislature party leader in the best interest of the State,” a rebel Congress leader told IANS, declining to be named.

The chief minister, however, has said he would step down only if it was proved that he had lost the support of a majority of the legislators.

Political instability appears to have become a permanent feature in Meghalaya, which has seen three governments since the March 2008 election.

Lapang was sworn in chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government May 13, 2009, after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-United Democratic Party (UDP) five-party coalition government was dismissed and the state brought under president’s rule.

The Congress enjoys the support of nine UDP members. The NCP, the main opposition, 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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