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J D Rymbai is new chief minister of Meghalaya
June 15, 2006 16:55 IST
Last Updated: June 15, 2006 18:09 IST
J D Rymbai was on Thursday chosen as the new chief minister of Meghalaya's coalition government, replacing D D Lapang.
The decision to appoint Rymbai was taken during the meeting of the Congress Legislature Party held in Shillong.
Rymabi, who was parliamentary affairs minister under Lapang, had earlier announced his decision to lead the group of 17 Congress dissidents demanding a change of leadership.
All India Congress Committee observers Pranab Mukherjee and Oscar Fernandes were present at the CLP meeting convened after Congress President Sonia Gandhi asked Lapang to prove his majority among the legislators. Lapang had met Sonia in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Rymbai represents Jirang (ST) assembly constituency in Ri-bhoi district.
Briefing reporters after the CLP meeting, Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said Lapang had expressed his desire to step down and Sonia Gandhi had accepted the resignation of Lapang.
Lapang, who was also present, said he wished to step down following which Rymbai was chosen the leader unanimously, Mukherjee said.
Expressing confidence that the new arrangement would resolve the crisis, Mukherjee, flanked by senior party colleagues Oscar Fernandes, Ved Prakash besides Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president O L Nongtdu, Lapang and Rymbai, said the coalition arrangement would remain intact.
Mukherjee said he had a discussion with the coalition partners who declared that the arrangement should continue. He said he would meet the allies again and after getting their letters of support and would stake claim to form a new government.
Rymbai said besides him two other ministers -- Donkupar Roy of the United Democratic Party and Martle Mukhim of Meghalaya Democratic -- Party would be sworn in on Thursday at the Raj Bhawan.
The election of Rymbai capped developments which began on June 5 when rebel Congress legislators boycotted a CLP meeting and held a parallel sitting at the residence of Charles Pyngrope and faxed a letter to the high command for a change in leadership.
At the CLP meeting, Lapang could muster support of 11 legislators while Rymbai had the support 17 legislators.