Shillong, June 19: Meghalaya chief minister J.D. Rymbai today did a smart juggling act, distributing plum portfolios equally among his eight Congress colleagues and three regional party heads in the coalition government.
Standing in for his Meghalaya counterpart M.M. Jacob, who is on leave, Manipur governor S.S. Sidhu administered the oath of office to nine ministers at Raj Bhavan. United Democratic Party president Donkupar Roy and Meghalaya Democratic Party chief Martle Mukhim had been sworn in along with Rymbai on Thursday.
Rymbai told the media after the swearing-in ceremony that his predecessor would be made the chairman of the Meghalaya Economic Development Council, a post previously held by Robert G. Lyngdoh.
The chief minister also said he was confident that the reconstituted Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government would last its term, which is until the elections in 2008.
Rymbai became the chief minister after Lapang resigned, bowing to pressure from 17 of the 29 Congress legislators. Sonia Gandhi had sent defence minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union minister of state Oscar Fernandez and AICC observer Ved Prakash to Shillong to defuse the crisis.
There are only five survivors from the dissolved ministry ' Rymbai, Roy, Mukhim, Brening Sangma and Chitlang Pale ' in the new government. Robert G. Lyngdoh, who had resigned from the Lapang ministry, has been brought back as home minister. He will also look after tourism, art and culture, and IT.
The chief minister has kept with him the industry, personnel, political affairs, cabinet affairs and programme implementation portfolios. Roy will continue to be deputy chief minister in charge of finance, power, higher and technical education, law and revenue, while Mukhim will be in charge of soil and water conservation, forest and environment, and social welfare.
Paul Lyngdoh, president of the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, has been made the urban and municipal affairs minister with additional charge of sports and youth affairs, and science and technology.
Prestone Tyngsong has been allotted public health engineering, district council affairs, general administrative department, mass and elementary education, and geology and mining portfolios.
Pale has got the PWD (buildings) portfolio along with additional charge of food and civil supplies, animal husbandry and veterinary, and minor irrigation. The lone woman, Irene Lyngdoh, has been made community and rural development minister.