M A I N   N E W S

Meghalaya has two CMs

Shillong, January 31
The northeastern state of Meghalaya now has two chief ministers- veteran Congress leader DD Lapang and the party’s state unit chief Friday Lyngdoh. And, this has been made official by a government notification!

While Lapang is the CM with statutory authority vested in him, Lyngdoh would simply enjoy the status and benefits of a CM without power. Lyngdoh was earlier the Deputy CM in the 12-member council of ministers led by Lapang and continued to enjoy the status even afterwards. “The rank and status of Lyngdoh has been upgraded from the rank of a Deputy CM to that of CM. He shall continue to function as political advisor to the CM,” the notification read.

The weird political move to elevate Lyngdoh’s status is seen as an attempt to quell any form of threat to the shaky Congress government. Recent reports said Lyngdoh, along with seven other ruling party legislators, led a rebellion and even met senior central Congress party leaders in New Delhi demanding ministerial berths.

Technically speaking, Lyngdoh would simply enjoy the status of a CM with fringe benefits like security, perks and incentives, besides protocol as applicable to a CM. “Lapang is the real CM, while Lyngdoh is CM without any power. It is a face-saving exercise and aimed at soothing an inflated ego of Lyngdoh, who tried to engineer some dissidence,” a senior minister loyal to Lapang said, requesting not to be named.

The state has already seen three governments since the March 2008 elections. In the present 60-member legislature, the Congress has 28 legislators and enjoys the support of 10 UDP members. The NCP, the main opposition, has 15 legislators.

Political instability is the hallmark of Meghalaya - it has seen nine governments with combinations of political parties, resulting in eight CMs between 1998 and 2009. Only twice was a CM able to complete the full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972. — IANS



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