Discontenment brewing over allotment of portfolio
Shillong, Mar 14: Indications of discontent is brewing over the disparity in allocation of portfolios have started to be seen among some ministers in the Mukul Sangma-led Meghalaya United Alliance-II (MUA-II), Meghalaya government.
The distribution of plum portfolios to some ministers and stripping of major departments from some senior Congress ministers is likely to cause irritants to the new government. Though the 'affected' ministers denied that they were unhappy with the portfolios alloted to them, their supporters however said they were shocked with the 'lack of fairness' in terms of portfolio allocation by the chief minister.
Senior Congress legislator H D R Lyngdoh who is known as a close confidant of Dr Sangma was one of the most affected ministers in the allocation of portfolios.
Further, despite hopes that he will be elevated to the post of Deputy Chief Minister, Mr Lyngdoh not only lost the post to Prof Roytre C Laloo but was also not rewarded in the portfolio allocation.
Mr Lyngdoh has been stripped of his earlier departments of home and PWD (Roads) and instead given transport, general administration department, co-operation and some other minor departments.
However, the senior Congress legislator said "People may feel that I have been demoted, but I have no such feeling. We are working in one government and now with new departments I will be able to learn many things," he said.
"We are in the same Congress-led government and the portfolio that was with me earlier has gone to my colleague who is from the same party in the government. It's good in one way as we can earn knowledge and experience with other new departments," Mr Lyngdoh said.
Mr Lyngdoh held the Health Department in the previous government but now got minor departments like water resources, soil and water conservation, home (passport), law and elections. However, the Congress strongman from West Khasi Hills district said he was happy with whatever he got.
The deputy chief minister rather termed the new departments 'challenging' because they are new to him.
MPCC working president and former deputy chief minister Deborah C Marak too is among the losers in the portfolio allocation.
She has been allotted with social welfare, animal husbandry and veterinary, printing and stationery and secretariat administration department.
Among the major gainers are Prof. Roytre C Laloo who not only was elevated to the post of deputy chief minister but also got plum departments like PHE, education, revenue and disaster management.
Prestone Tynsong, who emerged as the front runner for the Chief Minister's post after the elections, is also another gainer in terms of portfolio.
Mr Tynsong got community and rural development besides his old portfolios of forest and environment and border areas development. Moreover, three new faces in the cabinet like chief minister's youngest brother, Zenith Sangma, Sniawbhalang Dhar and Clement Marak were given almost all the best departments to handle.
Clement Marak, who is a close follower of the chief minister was rewarded with power, food and civil supplies and arts and culture. Among the major gainers, Roshan Warjri was not only made Meghalaya's first woman home minister but was also given PWD (Buildings).
A L Hek also benefitted in the process as he got health and family welfare. He is also in-charge of information technology, information and public relations. Besides, Ampareen Lyngdoh who was the lone lady minister in the previous government retained the urban affairs department she had held earlier besides municipal administration.