Shillong, Aug 10 IANS | 3 months ago

Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma Sunday praised the Congress legislators in Meghalaya for demanding the removal of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma over the prevailing law and order situation in Garo Hills.

"I am happy that the majority of Congress legislators in the state have realized the gravity of the situation and want a change of leadership in the state," said the National People's Party (NPP) MP from Tura parliamentary constituency.

He told reporters that "the Congress is a responsible political party and cannot afford an irresponsible chief minister".

"Meghalaya is a fit case for President's Rule, but if the Congress has come to their senses, perhaps President's Rule can be avoided with a new leadership in the Congress Legislature Party," he said.

Sangma's statement gains significance in wake of the growing dissatisfaction over the functioning of the chief minister.

Last week, Meghalaya Congress committee chief D.D. Lapang along with cabinet ministers Prestone Tynsong and H.D.R. Lyngdoh had apprised Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi about the growing dissent within the party.

"Whether it is Meghalaya or Assam, the demand for change in leadership is an internal matter of a party. But when the problem goes beyond the party and affects the common people, we, as the people's representatives and as leaders, cannot keep silent," he said.

On the worsening law and order situation in Garo Hills in the western part of Meghalaya, Sangma, who met Meghalaya Governor K.K. Paul Saturday, said: "The law and order situation in Garo Hills has also affected the neighbouring state of Assam."

He cited how people in Assam burnt the effigy of the Meghalaya chief minister and demanded imposition of President's Rule in Meghalaya.

Sangma also said that Meghalaya is staring at a deep financial crisis following the National Green Tribunal's ban on rat-hole coal mining coupled with rampant corruption and the breakdown of law and order in the state.

"The economy of Meghalaya has been badly affected as Meghalaya is losing revenue of Rs.600 crore from coal mining in view of the NGT's ban and the breakdown of law and order situation in the state," he said.

In the 60-member legislature, the Congress has 29 legislators and has the support of two NCP members and 12 independents.

The combined opposition Meghalaya People's Front has 12 members consisting of eight United Democratic Party members, two NPP and two independent members.

(Posted on 10-08-2014)

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