New Delhi: Congress on Monday expressed
unhappiness over the appointment of four `chief ministers` in
Meghalaya, dubbing it as "relatively unusual", but defended
the move citing political instability in the state.
At a media briefing, party spokesman Abhishek Singhvi
also said there is only one Chief Minister in Meghalaya and
the others have been given same perks and security but not the
same decision-making power.
"I agree this is relatively unusual. But it is a small
state and has political instability. We hope their (those who
have taken the decision) shoulders are broad enough to bear
political cost, if any," he said.
The Congress-led government in Meghalaya resorted to a
peculiar arrangement with the rank and status of Pradesh
Congress Committee president Friday Lyngdoh being elevated to
that of chief minister even as D D Lapang continues as the CM.
With elevation of Lyngdoh`s status, the ruling alliance
now has three leaders, apart from Lapang, who enjoyed the
status of chief minister. The others are the two leaders of
the United Democratic Party -- State Planning Board chairman
Donkupar Roy and Meghalaya Economic Development Council
chairman J D Rymbai.
Singhvi asserted that there was only one Chief Minister
in Meghalaya and there can only be one CM as per the
Constitution. He said only the rank of CM has been given to
others for perks, emoluments and security.
"They (others given the rank of CM) do not have the
jurisdiction to take decision of a Chief Minister. The
decision-making is with the CM," he said.
Justifying the decision of the Congress-led government in
the state, Singhvi said there are several states with deputy
chief ministers and those in-charge of corporations who are
given Cabinet rank.
"But it is true that it does not happen generally," a
defensive Singhvi said to a volley of questions on the issue.
Asked whether having four `CMs` in a tiny state will be a
misuse of public money, the spokesman said, "I do not think it
is a misuse as it is a political decision taken with full
Singhvi evaded queries on whether the Meghalaya model
will be replicated at the Centre or other Congress-ruled
states, merely saying that it was a "political decision" and
was not taken in secret.
To a query whether Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
could be given the rank of Prime Minister, Singhvi shot back,
"you are twisting it".
The elevation of Lyngdoh`s status is seen as a move to
stem the resentment in the Congress camp, particularly among
some senior members who have been denied a ministerial berth.
Lyngdoh, reportedly heading the rebel camp that comprises
at least eight disgruntled MLAs, had even moved the AICC
recently seeking resolution of their grievances.
The 12-member council of ministers in Meghalaya are
assisted by 13 Parliamentary Secretaries picked up from the 60