SHILLONG: Despite the absence of the majority of senior Congress legislators at Tuesday’s swearing in ceremony, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma stoically maintains that the party is united.
“If the party is not unified then the Government would have fallen. It is because of the unity in the Congress party that this Government is still surviving,” Dr Mukul said while speaking to reporters after the swearing-in ceremony at Raj Bhavan on Tuesday.
Several Congress legislators including former Chief Minister DD Lapang, Deputy Chief Minister Rowell Lyngdoh and Assembly Speaker Charles Pyngrope were absent from the swearing in ceremony.
Interestingly, besides the dissident MLAs even Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh who is known to be a loyalist of the Chief Minister was among those who were absent. Lyngdoh went to Umroi to convince the new minister Stanlywis Rymbai to come to the swearing-in ceremony.
To a question as to why if the party is united, so many of the Congress legislators are still camping in New Delhi, Dr Sangma refused to give a directly reply but said, “You must ask those people who are there. I cannot speak on behalf of others.”
When asked when he will hold the CLP, he said he is not supposed to discuss this with the media since it is an internal matter of the party.
Dr Sangma, however, said that these Cabinet reshuffles which he had brought about are routine affairs in the Government.
“I have to take up this excise to ensure an effective, coherent cabinet which would be able to deliver in conformity with the expectations and aspiration of the people,” the Chief Minister said.
Dr Mukul also said, “As Chief Minister I want the government to be responsive and to deliver governance. He admitted that at present the State is in a stage of backwardness.
“I think we can easily conclude that we are far behind other developed states in the country. If we compare our state with other developed nations then we are centuries behind,” the Chief Minister added, and stated that it is important to ensure that the momentum of development that is initiated must be further accelerated in the best interests of the people so that the State can come on par with others.
When asked whether those ministers who are replaced have submitted their resignation, he said if they do not submit their resignation it is termed as “withdrawal of the pleasure” of the appointing authority.
“In plain language it means that they have been dropped,” the Chief Minister said.
When asked whether senior ministers like Tynsong and Momin were dropped on account their incompetence or for being in the dissident group, the Chief Minister maintained that this reshuffling is being effected with a specific purpose.