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Conundrum around Parliamentary Secretary post

That the BJP Secretary in charge Meghalaya, Nalin Kohli, should make a hurried visit to the state, hold a press conference and pick on the ticklish issue of appointment of parliamentary secretaries (PS) is not coincidental. On March 30 last,the Jirang MLA, Lamboklang Mylliem suddenly resigned as PS in charge Taxation. Mylliem claims that he is trying to avoid legal complications since several High Courts have ruled that the appointment runs counter to the Constitutional 91st Amendment Act, 2003 which states that the total number of ministers including the chief minister cannot exceed 15% of the total number of MLAs, which in the case of Meghalaya means 12 ministers. That the Jirang MLA should only now realize the ramifications of his appointment fools no one. Also that Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong should only grapple with the seriousness of this matter is banal. Nalin Kohli has made things much clearer by accusing Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma of insecurity from his own MLAs and of buying their loyalty by appointing them as PS. This is not far from the truth. It has been a survival tactic adopted by all Chief Ministers who wish to hold their flock together, since MLAs are wont to jump fences on the promise of a ministerial berth.

Rumours are rife in political circles here that Meghalaya will soon go the Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand way. In both the states the crisis was precipitated by disgruntled Congress MLAs with the BJP playing midwife to the birth of a new government owing allegiance to it. There are as many disgruntled Congressmen in Meghalaya too; the most prominent of them is PN Syiem, the CEM, KHADC who has defied the State Government’s Ordinance on Office of Profit which requires that a person holds either the post of MLA or MDC and resign from one of them.  There are Congressmen who are secret admirers of PN Syiem for daring to take on Mukul Sangma. Amongst those who are considered close to Syiem are Lok Sabha MP, Vincent Pala. Pala has been seen in the august company of  PN Syiem quite often these days and sources in Delhi believe that the duo are in touch with Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju to pull off a coup on the Mukul Government. Lambok Mylliem’s resignation as PS looks like the first nail in this Government’s coffin. It could have a cascading effect with others following in his footsteps. So is Meghalaya headed the way of Arunachal Pradesh? The Assam election results which many predict could go the BJP way might just hasten the coup here.

 

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