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Cabinet reshuffle on the cards

Shillong, May 23: A cabinet reshuffle is in the offing in Meghalaya, in the light of growing dissidence within the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) seeking the dismissal of Mukul Sangma as chief minister.

Sources close to the ruling party admitted that the idea of going for a cabinet reshuffle had been mooted prior to the Lok Sabha polls, but the chief minister has been keeping it close to his chest. “The reshuffle may take place and the question of ‘why and when’ is the chief minister’s prerogative,” a source said.

The reshuffling move assumed significance in the wake of the resentment within the CLP, which has grown after the Lok Sabha polls.

The move to go for a cabinet reshuffle is possibly an appeasement measure to tame dissenters.

If at all the reshuffle took place, it would not be a surprise move, since the chief minister had a year ago, already hinted that his cabinet would be subjected to “rotation” to ensure that it does not remain “stagnant”.

On March 12, last year Sangma had hinted this to journalists after 11 Congress legislators were administered the oath of office and secrecy by former Meghalaya governor R.S. Mooshahary at the Raj Bhavan.

The reshuffle may happen after the budget session of the Assembly from June 6 to 16.

When asked, the chief minister was non-committal. “We do not reveal such things to the media,” he said.

There has been signs of a rift within the rank and file of the Congress in Meghalaya following the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls in Shillong and Tura. The Congress retained the Shillong seat but failed to wrest the Tura seat from former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma.

On May 16, after the Congress’s sitting MP Vincent H. Pala was declared winner from Shillong constituency, Congress legislator Comingone Ymbon had declared that a move to topple the Mukul Sangma-led government would fructify soon.

Sangma yesterday acknowledged the rift within the party saying, “There has been such a move (to topple me) and it is in the present continuous tense and not past tense. There is nothing new in it.”

The chief minister led the 12-member cabinet, though the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA-II) was also supported by two legislators of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and over 10 Independent legislators.

Sangma took over as chief minister for the second time on March 5 last year after the Congress emerged as the single largest party bagging 29 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the 2013 Assembly polls.

The MUA-II government completed 14 months in office on May 5.

Deputy Speaker and NCP state president Sanbor Shullai today called on the chief minister at his chamber in the main secretariat here.

Shullai told The Telegraph that the meeting had nothing to do with politics.


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