Meghalaya opposition demands CM’s removal

Shillong, Jan 20: A four-member delegation from Meghalaya’s opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) flew to New Delhi Monday to meet President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to demand dismissal of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma for his alleged links with a militant outfit.

“We have sought an audience with the President, the prime minister and leader of the opposition of both houses of parliament to demand the dismissal of Mukul Sangma’s government for his tacit and unholy nexus with a militant outfit,” leader of the opposition and UDP chief, Donkupar Roy, told IANS.

“We will expose the nexus and the danger of having a leader with deep-rooted connections with militants, a threat to the rule of law in Meghalaya and which will lead to subversion of the constitution,” he said.

He said Nagaland Chief Minister and chairman of North East Regional Political Parties Front (an umbrella of regional political parties) Neiphiu Rio will also accompany the UDP delegation.

Stating Mukul’s alleged nexus with the A’chik National Volunteers Council-B (ANVC-B) is a “national issue” since it has far-reaching implications for the fragile political and security scenario in the northeastern region, Roy said the delegation will demand a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.

“Mukul should step down to facilitate a fair and impartial probe,” Roy, a former chief minister of Meghalaya, said.

Charging Mukul with being the “common chairman” of all three tribal militant outfits operating in the western part of Meghalaya, National People’s Party supremo Purno A. Sangma demanded that a CBI or National Investigation Agency (NIA) inquiry be initiated into this nexus.

“He (Mukul) has lost all moral, legal and constitutional right to continue in the august office of the chief minister and should step down immediately. CBI or NIA inquiry should be initiated into this nexus,” Purno demanded.

“It is a matter of great shame for the state of Meghalaya that its chief minister has been exposed for his links with militants and used such illegal means to reach the position of chief minister.”

However, Mukul denied hobnobbing with the rebel outfit ANVC-B and termed the whole episode a “political conspiracy”.

“Mukul Sangma is one among the very few politicians who do not keep any link with militant outfits. It is known to everybody. It is known to the people, it is known to the government of India and MHA (ministry of home affairs),” he told journalists at a news conference.

“I have maintained we cannot rule out the alleged politician-militant nexus but in the absence of any evidence to substantiate, we cannot legally proceed with any such allegation,” he added.

ANVC-B political secretary Ajaju R. Marak had alleged Jan 10 that its chairman Rimpu Marak had a role in ensuring Mukul remained the chief minister when there was a tussle for power in his previous term.

The ANVC-B is a splinter group of the ANVC which has been observing a tripartite ceasefire with the central and Meghalaya governments for the past nine years.

Denying the allegations, Mukul termed them “malicious and “distasteful”, while saying the “subsequent developments are demonstrative of a deep-rooted conspiracy to malign the image of the chief minister and to create confusion in the minds of the people”.

He claimed Marak’s open letter to him indicated that “some vested interests have hatched a political conspiracy and penetrated the ANVC-B to further their political plot and conspiracy” against him and his government.