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AICC U-turn on action against rebels

High command looking to appease the ‘dissidents’  -Pala to meet Sonia today

From C K Nayak

NEW DELHI: A day after doing some tough talking over revamping the party in Meghalaya owing to rising dissident activities, the Congress high command made a U-turn on Monday and swung into a damage control mode by trying to appease the dissatisfied section.
Following confirmed reports that a section of party MLAs, MDCs and other top functionaries are leaving Congress and forming a regional party in protest against the style of functioning of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, the AICC is now trying to do everything possible to stabilize things in the party at a time when the shadow of the BJP refuses to keep a distance from the dissidents.
The MPCC President D D Lapang, who was asked to initiate action against KHADC CEM, P N Syiem was on Monday called to the AICC and has been asked to keep the decision in abeyance.
“The move to divest the three known dissident ministers from their party posts was also shelved for the time being,” the AICC sources said.
Shillong MP Vincent H Pala will meet party president, Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday to brief about the latest situation in the Hill State, the sources added.
Lapang, who is camping in the national capital and has had talks with several AICC leaders including C P Joshi, might also be called by Gandhi separately on Tuesday, the sources said.
The AICC received confirmed reports that at least six MLAs, several MDCs and top leaders of the party have decided to form a new party under the leadership of R G Lyngdoh and Syiem.
The name of the new party has been decided and even a big office has been taken in a prime locality of Shillong for the office, the sources said.
Sonia and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi are also worried that this will deal a big blow to the party with Assembly polls a year away. The party is also upset with the way the present AICC General Secretary Joshi is handing the state of affairs and fears Meghalaya might go the Assam way.
Only on Sunday the AICC contemplated revamping the party in the State and taking disciplinary action against Syiem who is spearheading the formation of a new party. It had also decided to divest three ministers from their present   position in the MPCC.
The ministers are MPCC working president, Deborah C. Marak, organising secretary, HDR Lyngdoh and general secretary, Sniawbhalang Dhar.
The AICC quickly realized that the strong move will go against both the party and the government in the state.  It also got to know that the new party has the full backing of the BJP and other regional parties.
Lapang who arrived here earlier, had a long meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday following which these developments had taken place, the AICC sources said. Lapang also met Joshi, and discussed the present state of affairs with him.
The party is also unnerved by the rise of the NPP under the MP-MLA brothers’ duo of Conrad and James Sangma which was decimated during the last assembly polls in 2013.
The party is worried about the impending by-elections in the KHADC to the seats which fell vacant following the controversy over the dual post issue and quite unnerved after a series of defeats in Garo hills and Khasi hills.
Going to by-elections in as many as nine seats with a split made in the party by none other than the sitting CEM in KHADC has frightened the party which has lost in all states including in Meghalaya recently.

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