SHILLONG, July 9 � Plagued by factionalism, legislators of Congress party in Meghalaya are holding separate meetings on Monday after the party chief, Sonia Gandhi ruled out leadership change in the State.
The 28 Congress legislators are now divided into three factions. One led by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, another by former Chief Minister DD Lapang and the third faction by Assembly Speaker, Charles Pyngrope.
Lapang after his meeting with Sonia and Sangma in New Delhi yesterday is holding a meeting of his supporters on Monday. But, several others who were earlier projecting Lapang as the alternative to Sangma are now holding separate meeting to chalk out their future course of action. This group now want Pyngrope to lead them.
Many of the legislators remain unfazed by Sonia�s directive that everyone must work unitedly under Sangma. They claim, Sonia was �not briefed properly about the ground realities.�
In fact, four Congress rebel legislators have threatened to resign from the Assembly unless Sangma is removed as the State party leader. They favour Assembly Speaker, Charles Pyngrope as the alternative.
The quartet - Sayeedullah Nongrum, Augustine D Marak, Frankenstein W Momin and Samuel Sangma � have jointly written to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to hear their grievances and make a decision on the leadership issue.
�She (Sonia) must have not been briefed properly. Had she known about the ground realities she would have directed holding of the Congress Legislature Party meeting, which has not been held for over a year,� Momin said over the phone.
However, it is not clear why suddenly Lapang has lost favour of several legislators who were earlier projecting him as Sangma�s alternative. �He did not consult us before going to New Delhi for the meeting with Sonia Gandhi. We have not authorised Dr Lapang to speak on behalf of us,� Momin added.
Nonetheless, the senior Congress legislator from Mendhipathar, East Garo Hills, who has been vocal against Sangma, reiterated: �the leadership issue is alive.�
Meanwhile, the State goes to polls in early 2013 and the Congress party president therefore directed its legislators to concentrate on upcoming elections rather than hankering for change of leadership.