Can't demote former CMs: Meghalaya FM

Finance Minister of Meghalaya justifies elevation of three MLAs to the "rank and status of chief minister"

PTI | February 4, 2010

Amid a row over the elevation of three MLAs of the ruling Congress-led alliance to the rank of chief minister, Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma 0oday asserted that a legislator who was a chief minister in the past cannot be "demoted".

"It is not proper for any political arrangement where an MLA who was a former chief minister is demoted. This has been a tradition in Meghalaya," Sangma, also in charge of finance department, told reporters.

He said one must understand the "political management" that is required to be resorted to in a coalition government.

"We have MLAs, who happen to be former chief ministers.

So long as they are MLAs, it is befitting for us to recognize and acknowledge their services and give them the status of chief minister," Sangma said.

After the elevation of the rank and status of Meghalaya Congress president Friday Lyngdoh to the rank and status of chief minister, there are four political leaders in the ruling Congress-led alliance to enjoy that status.

Two leaders of United Democratic Party (UDP), which is the main partner in the alliance, also enjoys the same status --State Planning Board Chairman Donkupar Roy and Meghalaya Economic Development Council chairman JD Rymbai.

Former chief minister Roy is the president of the UDP, while Rymbai was also a Congress chief minister before he was removed by the Congress high command after a nine month stint after a rebellion in the party.

Sangma, however, maintained that there was only one constitutional chief minister. "The status have been given to the two former chief ministers as well as Friday who happens to be a senior leader. It makes them effective in discharging their duties," he said.

On the financial implication, he said the perks and facilities of a chief minister and other cabinet ministers is same.

"Only in the salary component, there is a difference of Rs 500. A cabinet minister gets Rs 19,500, while a chief minister Rs 20,000," the finance minister said.




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