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Lapang given more time by AICC

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, April 11 � Beleaguered Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang has been given more time by the Congress high command to cobble up the majority support in the face of a revolt within the party in the State.

The AICC, which wants Lapang to remain at the helm, has given him some more time to garner the majority support in the CLP in the wake of 14 party MLAs seeking his ouster, AICC sources said today.

Lapang is now camping in New Delhi along with eight loyalists. The eight legislators, known to be pro-Lapang, were camping in New Delhi since yesterday to rally behind the Chief Minister. Lapang had been away from Meghalaya since April 7.

Among those camping in New Delhi are senior Ministers Mukul Sangma, M M Danggo and Prestone Tyngsong, sources said.

�Lapang enjoys a good rapport with the high command. So he has been given time to garner the support of majority of the Congress legislators,� an AICC source said.

Fourteen of the 28 Congress legislators had on April 7 faxed a letter to AICC President Sonia Gandhi seeking Lapang�s ouster, claiming that he had lost majority in the CLP.

However, despite the AICC not taking any immediate step now, names of Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and Speaker Charles Pyngrope are already doing the rounds for the post of Chief Minister in the event of Lapang failing to muster the figures.

Sonia Gandhi, who is likely to return to the national capital today, is expected to be briefed about the developments later.

The 14 rebel MLAs, including senior leaders Sayedullah Nongrum, H D R Lyngdoh, Rowell Lyngdoh, A L Hek, F W Momin and Augustine Marak, are all disgruntled over their non-inclusion in the Ministry.

The dissident MLAs have been asking the Congress high command for nearly one month asking for change of guard as well as their inclusion in the Ministry.

Only six Congress MLAs of the 28 have found berths in Lapang�s Ministry.

The current ruling Congress alliance, sworn in last year after the fall of the NCP-led Government, enjoys the support of 44 legislators � 28 from Congress, 9 from UDP, two from Hill State People�s Democratic Party, one from KHNAM and four Independents in the 60-member House. � PTI

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