Sangma to be elected next Meghalaya chief minister

April 19th, 2010 - 3:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, April 19 (IANS) Congress legislators are expected to meet here later Monday to elect Mukul M. Sangma as their new leader in place of outgoing Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang, party leaders said.
“I am coming to Shillong today and have convened a CLP (Congress legislature party) meeting to elect a new leader,” Lapang told IANS over phone from New Delhi.

“I will officially submit my resignation to the governor (Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary) to pave way for the formation of the new government,” he added.

On Sunday evening, Lapang admitted that he had lost the support of the majority of the 28 Congress legislators to Sangma.

Sangma, who is expected to be sworn-in as chief minister Tuesday morning, told IANS: “All legislators have pledged their unconditional support to me, to ensure coherence and unity in the CLP.”

The Congress has deputed two central observers, Oscar Fernandes and Meghalaya unit in-charge Luizinho Faleiro, to oversee the meeting Monday.

After that, the Congress legislators will brief its coalition partners, the United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party, Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and four independent members.

The UDP, the second biggest constituent of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA), has said it will continue its support under the new chief minister.

“The leadership issue in the Congress is not our concern. We have made our commitment to the Congress. Therefore, we will continue our support till the end of the term,” UDP chief and former chief minister Donkupar Roy said.

The main opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) expressed happiness that internal bickering within the ruling party had been resolved.

“We are happy that they resolved it and hope that the new leadership will ensure political stability in the state,” opposition leader Conrad K. Sangma said.

Congress rebels had demanded Lapang’s removal on charges that Meghalaya had not made any progress under his leadership.

The rebellion started in March after 14 Congress legislators asked Lapang to sack two independents - Ismail R. Marak and Limison Sangma - as well as Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) leader Paul Lyngdoh from the cabinet.

They wanted Congressmen to be included in the cabinet in their place. When Lapang failed to do so, the rebels pressed for his removal.

Sangma will be the state’s fourth chief minister in little over two years.

In the 60-member legislature, the Congress has 28 legislators and has the support of 10 UDP members, five independents and one KHNAM legislator. The main opposition NCP has 15 members.

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