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Mukul saves chair, but fails to quell dissidence

Turncoats may put party in trouble before 2018 polls

SHILLONG: Chief Minister Mukul Sangma may have saved his chair by managing numbers and winning the no-confidence motion, but the perennial dissatisfaction among a section of the legislators over his style of functioning is far from over.
Party sources indicated that the Chief Minister may continue to remain in chair till 2018, but there is a fear that many legislators may opt for other political parties in the run-up to the polls.
There is a section of disgruntled legislators which feels that Sangma can continue to hold the post for long but only at the party’s peril, which is on the downslide.
The options for them is to leave the party six months ahead of the polls that will give enough time to them to opt for other parties or to contest as Independents, sources added.
KHADC CEM P.N Syiem, who had opened a separate office at Nongrim Hills, is toying with the idea of forming a new party but he is yet to declare it officially.
Sources said a section of the Congress legislators may opt for BJP or regional parties, including NPP and UDP, prior to the Assembly polls.
The situation in Arunachal Pradesh, where the Congress lost the government, has come as a shock to Meghalaya Congress, which is facing dissidence.

“The Chief Minister may continue to remain in chair till 2018, but there is a fear that many legislators may opt for other political parties in the run-up to the polls…
Some Congress legislators may opt for the BJP or regional parties  like NPP and UDP “
A senior Congress party legislator said the induction of two legislators as cabinet ministers after dropping senior leaders like Rowell Lyngdoh and A.L Hek did not help the Chief Minister to end the dissatisfaction of legislators once and for all as there are more aspirants to join the cabinet.
Party sources admitted that revamping the Congress in this context is a difficult task as the rank and file of the party is sceptical about its victory in the 2018 polls.
Unlike Arunachal Pradesh, the Congress legislators in Meghalaya do not prefer any drastic step to pull down the party and hence they chose not to come out openly to topple the government during the recently concluded Assembly session.
A legislator from the Opposition said, had some members of the ruling Congress openly supported the no-confidence motion against the government, it would have led to its collapse.
In fact, Opposition Leader Donkupar Roy had indirectly criticised the Congress legislators for not speaking out if they want to effect a change.
During the discussion on the no-confidence motion, NPP’s James Sangma had expressed shock over the silence of the ruling Congress on several issues concerning the state.
“Come 2018, that silence is going to be very loud and the writing is very clear on the wall,” he had said, while pointing out that the government had already lost the confidence of people of the State.

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