Conrad puts onus on allies to decide his fate
CM reacts to resignation demand following Assembly dome collapse
SHILLONG, May 24: The fifty-month reign of the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance has been marred by a plethora of irregularities mostly revolving around corruption but the ruling dispensation led by Chief Minister Conrad Kongkal Sangma had never faced a storm akin to what is blowing in the state over substandard execution of infrastructure funded by the state exchequer.
Scandalous episodes like illegal coal mining and transportation, rampant corruption in the MeECL and the power sector and a host of ailments afflicting most government departments had failed to evoke any reaction from the chief minister save for occasions where he vehemently defended his government and his cabinet team while dismissing all allegations as mere hearsay.
However, the incident of leaking ISBT building and collapse of bridges followed by the damning collapse of the central dome of the much vaunted Assembly building at Mawdiangdiang, within days of each other, has come as some of the biggest setback for Sangma.
So much so that for the first time since assuming the chief minister’s chair, Sangma on Tuesday said it is for the coalition partners to decide whether or not he should step down.
He was reacting to the demand of the state BJP that he should step down owning moral responsibility for the irregularities.
“It is not my decision whether to step down or not. The MLAs of different coalition partners will take a call since they elected me as the CM,” Sangma said.
On the BJP’s demand for a CBI into the collapse of the dome of the new Assembly building, he said a technical body has conducted an inquiry but the government decided to approach the Indian Institute of Technology-Guwahati.
Sangma denied that Badri Rai Construction Private Limited, the firm working on the new Assembly building, is also involved in the construction of the NPP offices.
But he said the firm got the contract for the construction of the PA Sangma Stadium after participating in the tendering process. “They had bid for the project after fulfilling all the criteria,” he said.
The chief minister said the firm has a good track record and has been constructing bridges across the Brahmaputra.
“Obviously, they have the credentials and based on this they have applied and got the contract. This project (Assembly) has nothing to do with me,” he added.
Leader of the Opposition, Mukul Sangma on Tuesday said the CM and Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong should ask themselves whether they should quit or not. “I will leave it to their conscience,” he said.
He recalled stepping down as the deputy chief minister following an incident in 2005.
The state BJP, a constituent of the NPP-led MDA coalition, had earlier demanded the resignation of the CM over the alleged cases of corruption. The demand followed the collapse of the dome of the Assembly building in New Shillong Township.
However, suspended Congress leader PT Sawkmie came out in open support of the CM, saying that he has every right to continue. “There is a need for those who are asking him to step down to allow the incumbent government to complete its term with the Assembly polls drawing near,” he said.