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Lapang in Delhi as rebels demand his removal

india Updated: Mar 17, 2010 16:27 IST
IANS
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Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang flew to New Delhi on Wednesday to meet party president Sonia Gandhi as legislators stepped up their campaign to oust him and seek changes in the cabinet.

"I am going to meet the party high command and Congress functionaries to discuss the political development in Meghalaya," Lapang told IANS.

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

He said he would step down as leader of the Congress Legislature Party only if it was proved that he had lost the support of a majority of the legislators.

At least 14 rebel Congress legislators, led by state party president Friday Lyngdoh, had asked Lapang to drop two independent legislators - 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.

The rebels, who earlier met Sonia Gandhi, also want the removal of three Congress ministers -- Prestone Tynsong, Martin M. Danggo and Ampareen Lyngdoh. Ampareen Lyngdoh is the lone woman members in the 60-seat house.

"The present cabinet is run by two or three people and our views are never heard or considered by the chief minister. If he feels he can run the government with their help, let him do so, but we will see that he is also ousted from his post," a rebel Congress member said.

Lapang said the rebellion against him was linked to steps his government had taken to plug loopholes in the public distribution system and streamline the education department.

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

Lapang was sworn in chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government in March 2008. He resigned 10 days later just before a trust vote.

In the present legislature, the Congress has 28 members and the party enjoys the support of 10 UDP members. The Nationalist Congress Party (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 completed the five-year term.

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