Meghalaya’s rebel Congress legislators to meet Sonia

June 5th, 2011 - 8:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Shillong, June 5 (IANS) Eighteen rebel Meghalaya Congress legislators, including six cabinet ministers, Sunday decided to meet Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi to demand the ouster of Mukul Sangma as chief minister.

“We have sought an appointment with the party leadership; once she invites us we will inform her that a majority of the Congress legislators have lost confidence in the leadership of Sangma,” Community and Rural Development Minister Frankenstein W. Momin told IANS over phone.

Sangma has been camping in New Delhi for the past four days after he was summoned by the central leadership on the rebellion against him.

“If she (Gandhi) invites us all, we will physically show our strength to her and demand a special CLP (Congress legislature party) meeting to elect a new CLP leader,” Momin said.

Alleging that Chief Minister Sangma had failed on all fronts, the veteran Congress legislator said: “As a leader, he (Sangma) has failed to lead us from the front. He has not convened a cabinet meeting for the last two months, but taken unilateral decisions without consulting us.”

Congress general secretary and state in-charge Dhani Ram Shandil, who is returning to New Delhi from Himachal Pradesh, said: “The party leadership is expected to take a final decision (on the Meghalaya leadership issue) tomorrow (Monday).”

The rebel Congress legislators have demanded Sangma’s removal, saying that they were not happy with his autocratic style of functioning.

Sangma was sworn-in chief minister April 21, 2010, replacing party colleague D.D. Lapang, after 21 of the 28 legislators proposed his name as the new CLP leader.

Claiming that the constitutional machinery in the state had collapsed, opposition Nationalist Congress Party legislator Conrad K. Sangma demanded that Governor R.S. Mooshahary invoke Article 356 and president’s rule should be imposed in the state.

Congress leader 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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