‘Letter bomb’ jolts state politics

Mukul’s SOS to high command: BJP trying to pull down my government

Shillong MP Vincent Pala in discussion with BJP’s member of Parliament Anurag Thakur and the state BJP chief Shibun Lyngdoh during a programme in city on Wednesday. (ST)

NEWDELHI/SHILLONG:  At a time when the turmoil within the ruling Congress in the state over the demand for Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s removal appears to be far from over, a letter written by the Chief Minister to the party High Command accusing the BJP, in connivance with two senior leaders of the party -DD Lapang and Vincent Pala – of trying to destabilise his three-year-old government has created ripples not only in the State but also in the national political scenario.
In the letter, Sangma accused MPCC president DD Lapang and Shillong MP of meeting some senior BJP leaders to topple the Congress-led Government in Meghalaya.
A TV report on Tuesday claimed Sangma sent the note to the Congress leadership saying that a few “dissident” legislators met BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav and Assam’s BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma in a bid to pull down his government.
In his three-page letter to party president Sonia Gandhi and her son and deputy Rahul Gandhi, the Chief Minister said “the BJP is camping in Shillong and are in connivance with two cabinet ministers and looking to stir trouble for the state government.”
According to sources, the letter was written on Monday, just two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Shillong to attend a North Eastern Council (NEC) meet, and not long after the BJP, after winning Assam Assembly polls comprehensively, declared that it would now focus on consolidating its position in the rest of the North East.
With Assam BJP leader and Cabinet Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma openly urging the people of Manipur to dislodge the Government in that state, the Congress leaders in Meghalaya have become apprehensive about an Aruanchal Pradesh-like situation where the BJP might divide the already disunited party and prop up a puppet Government.
It was reported that MPCC President and Chief Minister aspirant DD Lapang met senior BJP leader Ram Madhav and Himanta Biswa, the party’s newly acquired strategist in Assam, who now heads a North East Alliance announced by the BJP.
When Mukul Sangma was asked by an NDTV reporter if he feared a collapse of his government based on papers available with the channel, the Chief Minister retorted, “How did you get hold of a personal email I had written to the Party High Command? Is someone hacking my emails? Is my privacy being violated? ”
But BJP sources said that its leader Ram Madhav is in Pune and Himanta Biswa, who played a major role ( in helping Congress earlier, was in Assam after returning from Manipur.
He along with new MLAs took oath on Wednesday.
Ram Madhav has denied the allegations and Himanta did not return the call after he was contacted.
The letter details the fragile state of the Congress in Meghalaya, where it rules with the help of allies – it has just 30 lawmakers in the 60-member assembly. The state congress is facing dissidence demanding removal of Chief Minister
Among those named in the letter is former Union Minister Vincent Pala who had recently met Sonia and Rahul along with Lapang.
Only after the meeting, the duo reportedly asked Pala to visit the state and coordinate with the legislators who wanted to meet them.
Responding to a query over the issue, AICC Spokesperson Sushmita Dev said the party was keeping an eye over reported dissidence against the Chief Minister and hoped that the BJP would not resort to illegal methods for destabilising the state Government.
Dev said, “At the AICC level, the matter is being handled carefully.
“I, hope that the BJP does not resort to illegal and unlawful methods in yet another State (read after Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand).”