SHILLONG, June 3 (IANS): Hours after the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) demanded president's rule in Meghalaya, the Congress Friday ruled out the central rule and said the political bickering within the ruling party has been resolved.
"There is no question of imposing president's rule in the state. The coalition government is very much in existence," Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee chief Friday Lyngdoh told IANS.
NCP legislator Conrad K. Sangma, Leader of Opposition in the assembly, met Governor R.S. Mooshahary and claimed the constitutional machinery has collapsed. He demanded that Article 356 be invoked and president's rule be imposed in the state.
The governor rejected the NCP's demand, saying that the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance coalition government still enjoys the majority in the state assembly.
"How can president's rule be imposed in the state when it is only a family matter (internal bickering) within the Congress?" Lyngdoh asked.
He added: "The matter has been resolved and it will be officially made known to you all tomorrow (Saturday)."
However, the opposition NCP stuck to its demand that Article 356 be invoked and president's rule be imposed as the constitutional machinery has collapsed.
"When the chief minister (Mukul Sangma) has not been able to hold cabinet meetings for more than two months and departments are not functioning, isn't it a total breakdown of constitutional machinery?" Sangma asked.
Earlier on Thursday, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh claimed that the chief minister has lost the support of a majority of the 28 Congress legislators.
Lyngdoh publicly announced that 18 of the 28 Congress legislators in the 60-member assembly have demanded Mukul Sangma's removal over his autocratic style of functioning.
The rebel Congress members are believed to be pitching for Mukul Sangma's predecessor D.D. Lapang to return as the chief minister.
Lyngdoh said the chief minister should immediately convene a Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting to resolve the leadership issue.
Meanwhile, Lapang also rushed to New Delhi Friday morning for talks with the party leadership. Mukul Sangma is already camping in New Delhi.
Meghalaya has seen nine governments with varied combinations, resulting in eight chief ministers between 1998 and 2009. Since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972, only two chief ministers have completed their full five-year terms.