Lapang quits as Meghalaya Chief Minister
Shillong/New Delhi: Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang on Sunday submitted his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi to end a dragging political crisis in the state, a party leader said.
"The party president has accepted the resignation," the leader said over telephone from New Delhi. The state Congress legislators will meet in Shillong Monday to elect a new leader.
Lapang`s resignation came shortly after he admitted that he had lost the support of the majority of the 28 Congress legislators.
Lapang made the admission after Mukul M Sangma, his trusted aide, was unanimously chosen his successor by 21 of 28 party legislators late Saturday at a closed-door meeting.
Sangma is currently a deputy chief minister in the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) coalition government.
In no time, Lapang said he would abide by the party high command`s directives as a "disciplined Congressman" -- a clear signal that he was ready to step down.
Both Lapang and Sangma and a host of 20 Congress legislators camped in the national capital, in a bid to resolve the month-old political crisis, until the chief minister sent his resignation to Gandhi.
Sangma, who is expected to take over as Meghalaya`s new chief minister, said: "All have pledged their unconditional support to me, to ensure coherence and unity in the Congress Legislature Party (CLP)."
Congress rebels had demanded Lapang`s removal on charges that Meghalaya had not made any progress under his leadership.
The rebellion in the CLP started in March after 14 Congress legislators asked Lapang to sack two independents - Ismail R Marak and Limison Sangma - as well as Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) leader Paul Lyngdoh from the Cabinet.
They wanted Congressmen to be included in the Cabinet in their place. When Lapang failed to do so, the rebels pressed for his removal.
When Sangma takes over, Meghalaya will get its fourth government in a little over two years.
In the 60-member legislature, the Congress has 28 legislators and has the support of 10 UDP members, five independents and one KHNAM legislator. The main opposition Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has 15 members.
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