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21 MLAs want Lapang back at helm, write to AICC

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, April 12 � Twenty-one Congress MLAs, including six Cabinet Ministers, have signed a written petition addressed to the AICC high command in a bid to upset Chief Minister Mukul Sangma�s applecart and bring back DD Lapang.

The sudden political tsunami has taken everyone by surprise � including Sangma himself � who till recently was campaigning in Assam and was in West Bengal to campaign there, but was forced to rush to New Delhi due to the State�s changed political scenario, sources said.

Lapang has already reached New Delhi and so too his loyalists. They would be meeting senior AICC members and submit the signed petition and demand Sangma�s removal.

These are ominous sign for Sangma�s eleven month government with the numbers now strongly against him. Earlier, there were moves to bring in change, but Sangma managed to veer himself out of trouble by keeping the rebels divided.

But, what should be more worrying for Sangma is that Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee, president Friday Lyngdoh, who till the other day was supporting him, is now backing Lapang.

Moreover, Congress legislators from Garo Hills, including Ministers, are also now part of the �bring-Lapang campaign.�

Sangma�s fault according to the dissidents: �He doesn�t listen to others and takes unilateral decisions. He has kept most of the plump portfolios to himself. He has not kept his promise to bring about a Cabinet reshuffle.�

But, the crux of the problem is the Cabinet size of 12 in the House of 60. There are 28 Congress legislators. However, Independents and coalition partners had to be accommodated leaving just nine berths for the Congress.

Earlier, the Congress high command had to remove the AICC general secretary in-charge Meghalaya, Luzinho Faleiro after bowing under rebel Congress� demand and appoint Sanajay Bapna instead.

Both Bapna and Congress working committee member, Dhani Ram Shandil who visited the State recently denied any rift within the party and said Sangma would continue as the Chief Minister.

Sangma is slated to complete one year in office on April 20, but going by the State�s political history it wouldn�t be surprising if Sangma fails to reach that milestone.

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