By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: The full team of the MUA-II will assume office after the swearing-in of 11 Congress legislators as ministers on Tuesday.
Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma, who was sworn in last Tuesday, did not want to change the name of the coalition Government as he said, “we would like to be known as MUA-II”. This is apparently in line with UPA-II, the Congress-led coalition Government at the Centre.
Speaking to reporters in the Assembly on Monday, the Chief Minister confirmed the names of his cabinet members – Rowell Lyngdoh, and Prof RC Laloo as Deputy Chief Ministers, Ampareen Lyngdoh, Deborah Marak and Roshan Warjri, HDR Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, AL Hek, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Zenith Sangma and Clement Marak as ministers.
The Chief Minister said that one-fourth of the Cabinet berths are allotted to women legislators, which in itself is a record of sorts for Meghalaya.
Former Chief Ministers – SC Marak and DD Lapang – will be appointed as the Chairman of State Planning Board and Chairman of the State Level Monitoring Committee respectively.
Besides, Lapang will continue to hold the post of Chief Advisor to the Meghalaya Government.
Asked why Ri-Bhoi district was not represented in the ministry, Dr Sangma said that every minister is supposed to represent the whole State. “The list is the reflection of the aspirations of people of the State,” he added. To a question on whether Dr Celestine Lyngdoh from Umsning, Ri-Bhoi, will be appointed as Deputy Speaker, Dr Sangma said that the matter was yet to be discussed.
The Chief Minister said the combination of the new MUA-II coalition Government is 12 Independents and two NCP MLAs, besides 29 Congress legislators.
He said the Independents and NCP members, who are supporting the Government, will be accommodated in various capacities.
Lapang’s non-inclusion in cabinet irks NGOs
Taking strong note of the non-representation from Ri-Bhoi district in the MUA-II Cabinet, two leading NGOs of the district – the KSU North Khasi Hills District and the RBYF central body – have denounced the action of Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma for acting on basis of favoritism and nepotism on the selection of legislators as his colleagues, our Nongpoh correspondent reports.
The two NGOs have demanded that the Congress government should reconsider the list and include a legislator from the district to ensure equal representation from all the districts.
Both the KSU and the RBYF said that Dr Sangma has once again neglected Ri-Bhoi district as there has been no representation from the district in the Cabinet for the past few years.
The NGOs also resented the fact that the Chief Minister had included his brother Zenith Sangma in the coveted list.
The two NGOs also questioned the election of a non indigenous legislator as the Speaker of the State Legislative Assembly.