The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Khonglam faces revolt

Shillong, Aug. 24: The online lottery controversy may lead to the fall of the Peoples’ Forum of Meghalaya government with most political parties in the coalition deciding not to pitch in for chief minister F.A. Khonglam.

As another political drama unfolds barely eight months after the Meghalaya house controversy, hectic parleys are on to look for a new combination and a new chief minister. Most coalition partners are projecting NCP leader Purno A. Sangma as the next chief minister. Sources said Sangma will rush here tomorrow to take control of the situation and help his party steer clear of the controversy and Khonglam.

Sources close to the NCP also said that Sangma has been wary of the fact that the online lottery deal with M.S. Associates would not have healthy ramifications on the NCP. “After what Tezpur MP Mani Subba had done to woo Sangma’s MLAs in Manipur, Arunachal and Assam, he has every reason to be worried,” contended an NCP worker.

Of late, Sangma has bee n expressing concern about the way things have shaped up on the online lottery deal and has decided to play his cards carefully in a bid to unsaddle Khonglam.

While the NCP is making calculated moves, other parties like the Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) have already started holding parleys to cobble up a new coalition.

General administration department minister and MDP leader D.P. Iangjuh, who was dropped from the Cabinet last evening by Khonglam, did not rule out the possibility of the MDP severing ties with the government. He said the MDP would hold a meeting as soon as its president Martle Mukhim returned from Delhi. He said he would not spare Khonglam for “victimising” him “baselessly”.

Khonglam had dropped Iangjuh for opposing the online lottery deal. However, the chief minister came out with contradictory statements on the expulsion. On the one hand, he said Iangjuh was dropped for opposing the deal but on the other, he accused him of leaking out papers of the Meghalaya house deal and the Meghalaya Cements Corporation Limited (MCCL) controversy with Saurashtra.

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