Balancing act gives Meghalaya 4 ‘CMs’
For close to a year, Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang of the Congress had two more legislators sharing his rank and status. The cloud-kissed state now has a fourth ‘CM’ in a state where toppling games and splits have seen 21 governments in 38 years, reports Rahul Karmakar.india Updated: Jan 31, 2010 23:17 IST
For close to a year, Meghalaya Chief Minister D.D. Lapang of the Congress had two more legislators sharing his rank and status. The cloud-kissed state now has a fourth ‘CM’ in a state where toppling games and splits have seen 21 governments in 38 years.
Following a January 28 notification, the status of Friday Lyngdoh, Lapang’s political adviser, was upgraded from deputy CM to CM. But, the notification added, he would continue to function as Lapang’s political adviser.
Lyngdoh, also the chief of the Congress’s state unit, joined two others ‘CMs’ — State Planning Board Chairman Donkupar Roy and Meghalaya Economic Development Council chief J.D. Rymbai — both from the United Democratic Party..
“The case of Roy and Rymbai is understandable since both are former chief ministers, but there’s no logic behind Lyngdoh’s promotion,” said Opposition MLA Manas Chaudhuri.
But Congress insiders insisted it made sense since the anti-Lapang camp was using Lyngdoh to cite ‘injustice’ to senior party legislators.
With only 28 Congress MLAs in the 60-member House, Lapang heads the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government.
In New Delhi, the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy slammed Lyngdoh’s appointment as a “constitutional absurdity”. “What we are aware of is that under the Constitution, the Governor swears in the chief minister. But here we have a chief minister appointing another chief minister," he said.
Congress spokesperson Manish Tiwari agreed there was an issue of propriety involved. "We are in the process of checking up with our people in Meghalaya -- since it is in a coalition government -- as to the circumstances which may have impelled such a decision."
Though Roy, Rymbai and Lyngdoh do not enjoy Lapang’s constitutional authority, their elevation has underscored Meghalaya’s penchant for political quirks. In 1978, the state became the first to elect a CM – D.D. Pugh – by lottery, and in 2001 it showed how an Independent – F.A. Khonglam – could get the top job.
(With PTI inputs from New Delhi)