Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang on Thursday dismissed apprehensions of a split in the state Congress unit in the wake of 16 dissident MLAs pressing the central leadership to remove him from the post.
"The party would not suffer a split for the sake of chair," Lapang, whose party has 28 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly, said.
The ruling Congress-led alliance, sworn in last year after the fall of the NCP-led government, enjoys the support of 44 legislators including nine of UDP, two from Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, one from Khyun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and four Independents.
Rebel MLAs, who are camping in New Delhi to pressure AICC leadership to remove Lapang and accommodate them in the ministry, presented their demands before AICC president Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel last night.
"A leader should not react to such dissidence. No one is indispensable. The AICC is the best judge," Lapang said.
Asked if the AICC would encourage dissidence by conceding to their demands, Lapang said, "It's a valid opinion, but the AICC knows what is best... Any member is free to express their grievances."
The 16 legislators are demanding a change in leadership in the state, besides accommodation of senior MLAs in the ministry by dropping the independents and the lone MLA from KHNAM. Only six Congress MLAs had found berths in Lapang ministry.
Asked about the strength of rebel MLAs, Lapang said, "There is no need to analyse the majority now. The majority will come into play only when the AICC feels there is the need for an election to select the legislature party leader".
The AICC has summoned Pradesh Congress chief Friday Lyngdoh and working president Deborah Marak to discuss the situation arising out of the revolt.
With pressure mounting on Lapang, sources indicated that a cabinet reshuffle is on the cards.
The AICC is likely to send a special observer to the state next week to tackle the dissidence, party sources said.