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Opp divided on Deborah, Ampareen issue

HILLONG: The resignation of Home Minister Roshan Warjri on moral ground has given rise to the thorny question whether or not Deborah Marak, who was chargesheeted by the police for her alleged links with GNLA to win the elections and Ampareen Lyngdoh, who was named by the CBI for her alleged complicity with the education scam, should follow suit.

While both the ministers in question brazenly turned down suggestions for resigning from Cabinet, the Opposition seems to be divided on the issue, if also somewhat unsure of their position.

UDP working president Bindo M Lanong, who was clear about his position, believes that healthy democratic practice demands that a minister should resign if the department has glaringly failed to perform and it is not wrong to resign in such cases.

He is of the firm opinion that two other ministers should also emulate Home Minister Roshan Warjri, who has quit on moral ground rather any personal blemish.

” Roshan Warjri resigned due to the failure of the department but the other ministers are carrying serious charges of personal offences,” Lanong said while adding that the Chief Minister should have dropped the two ministers outright.

Chokpot MLA and GNLC leader Clifford Marak is of the view that the choice is of the two ministers whether or not they wanted to resign and there should be no compulsion for them to quit.

When asked if he will raise the issue during the ongoing Assembly session, Marak said he cannot say anything on the matter since it is sub- judice.

Similarly, the usually vocal NPP legislator James Sangma also preferred to play safe saying said that he will have to check if the matter is sub-judice before giving his comments.

It may be recalled that Deborah insisted that she would not step down and after the first hearing on the matter in the court of CJM at Williamnagar, the Minister said she came to appear before the court to prove her innocence.

While Warjri took moral responsibility for the law and order situation in Garo Hills during her tenure and resigned from the post, Ampareen chose not to stand on moral high ground and rejected any suggestion of resignation.

Soon after the news about the education scam surfaced in November 2012, at a news conference, Ampareen had said that the statement of education official, JD Sangma that under her instruction he had to fudge the score sheets of the candidates, was uncorroborated and, therefore, cannot be the basis for her resignation

In the 107-page report, the CBI had said, “In the course of his examination, J.D. Sangma had stated that under the instruction of the then education minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, he had to change the score sheet as prepared by all the five boards duly applying white fluid on the original marks as awarded by the members of the board.”

Brushing aside Sangma’s contention Ampareen had then said, “If an uncorroborated statement of an official is the basis for all the allegations levelled against me, then no politician would ever be able to function in our democratic polity. No minister would like to be at the mercy of an official who gives statements according to his whims and fancies.”

She had also ruled out her resignation by saying that the “demand (for resignation) by vested interests remains questionable.”

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