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CM-CEM rift widens

Pynshngain quits as chairman of Meghalaya Economic Development Council

SHILLONG: In the aftermath of the Meghalaya Assembly passing the amendment Bill against dual posts, the rift between Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and KHADC Chief Executive Member P.N. Syiem further widened on Monday with the latter announcing his resignation from the post of chairman of Meghalaya Economic Development Council (MEDC).
Syiem quit the post of chairman of MEDC while expressing displeasure at working under Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
The rift between the chief minister and the KHADC chief has been widening with each passing day ever since the State Government tabled the amendment Bill barring MLAs from holding the post of MDCs. Syiem’s contention has been that he was not consulted in his capacity as Chief Executive Member of the KHADC, before the Bill was tabled and subsequently passed in the House.
“After considering all the facts on the style and functioning of the present MUA-II Government under your leadership as the Chief Minister, I do not see any justification to continue myself as the Chairman of MEDC. So I hereby tender my resignation as the Chairman of MEDC with effect from October 1,” Syiem wrote in his resignation letter addressed to the chief minister.
Speaking to reporters in his office chamber in the KHADC on Monday, Syiem accused the chief minister of failing to collect the views of the CLP and MUA-II government as a whole before taking up the Bill.
“Everything was done in a hurried manner and no opportunity was given to the CLP to discuss the matter. In this context, I have decided not to work under such a leadership,” he added.
Syiem, however, made it amply clear that he will continue to function as a Congress legislator despite having reservations about the style of functioning of the chief minister.
The KHADC chief also asserted that no legislator was supporting him in his cause and he was protesting in his individual capacity as a Congress legislator, and added that he was not seeking a change of leadership.
“As the CEM of the Congress-led coalition in the KHADC,       I was not taken into confidence by the chief minister,” he reiterated.
‘No room for disqualification’
Syiem, meanwhile, contended that the Election Commission of India had earlier made it clear that if an MLA holds the post of MDC, this would not fall under the ‘office of profit’ as it is an elected post and not any office appointed by the Government, and hence he would not come under disqualification.
The KHADC chief informed that after referring to the provision of Article 191 (i) (a), the Election Commission of India in an observation in 2012 had said – “As per the Constitution of India, being an elected member of a local authority is not a disqualification for membership of a State Legislative Assembly, as it is not an office under the government.”
Syiem reiterated that MDCs cannot be removed by the State Government since they are elected by the people and not appointed by the Government.

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