Sonia summons Lapang; Sangma is successor?

April 16th, 2010 - 10:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Shillong, April 16 (IANS) The Congress leadership Friday summoned Chief Minister D.D. Lapang to New Delhi to end a leadership row in Meghalaya as the party rebels projected Mukul M. Sangma as his successor.
“I have been asked to come to Delhi to discuss the political crisis in the state,” Lapang told IANS before taking a flight to the national capital.

On Tuesday, Lapang had returned to the state from the capital after failing to get a word from Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the month-old political crisis.

Gandhi, however, met Meghalaya Congress president Friday Lyngdoh and suggested that a Congress Legislature Party meeting be convened to end the deadlock.

At least 16 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, who had earlier projected assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope as Lapang’s replacement, are now focussing on senior Congress legislator and Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.

Sangma, who is scheduled to leave for New Delhi Saturday, said: “I am ready to take over as the CLP (Congress Legislature Party) but it is the perogative of the CLP members.”

An aide to Sangma claimed that he enjoyed the support of at least 20 rebels.

“This stalemate should be resolved in the best interest of the state. I have spoken to the chief minister and the Congress leadership to sort out the political stalemate,” Sangma told IANS.

On April 5, the Congress rebels faxed a letter to Gandhi, reiterating their demand for Lapang’s removal.

Lapang had earlier said he would step down only if it was proved that he had lost the support of a majority of the legislators.

“I am a disciplined Congressman and I will be guided by the decision of the party high command,” he said.

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

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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