The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Lapang gets a breather

Shillong, June 12: Embattled Meghalaya chief minister D.D. Lapang lived to fight another day with the Congress Legislature Party meeting that was to determine his fate today hedging on the issue before deciding to fire the gun from Sonia Gandhi’s shoulder.

Union minister Oscar Fernandez, who is also the AICC general secretary for Meghalaya, first went into a huddle with the dissident MLAs, then met Lapang and other Congress ministers behind closed doors, before getting everybody together for the legislature party conclave.

Fernandez had been sent to Shillong by Sonia to assess the situation and send her a report.

The Union minister told the media that he had had discussions with the group of MLAs rebelling against Lapang and also the legislature party. “The CLP agreed to leave the decision to our chairperson,” he said.

He hinted, however, that it would take a dramatic turnaround in fortunes for Lapang to remain at the head of the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance.

DoNER minister P.R. Kyndiah also met Sonia in New Delhi today and discussed the political situation in the state.

The oust-Lapang campaign gained momentum when as many as 20 Congress legislators declared that they had lost faith in his leadership. The dissident group contended that he had “failed to deliver both as chief minister and leader of the party”.

Fernandez said the high command’s decision would be conveyed before Friday, when the budget session of the Assembly is scheduled to begin.

A grumpy Lapang avoided the media and rushed home after the legislature party meeting.

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