Shillong: The NPP-led-Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government is currently navigating through some rough waters, and we are not talking about managing a state during a pandemic. 

Apart from COVID-19, the government has been targeted for the alleged Saubhagya scam, the rampant illegal coal mining activities, the ‘FCI rice scam‘ and the irregularities in the Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) taking place. 

Several political leaders and even pressure groups have demanded that power minister James Sangma should be removed.

Inside sources say that even two NPP leaders are not happy with the power minister and are demanding that he be removed. A source further mentioned that even a Cabinet minister had decided to step down, since time and again the government has been caught on the wrong path.

However, The Hill State People’s Democratic Party, an ally of the state government, has decided to not get involved in the tussle. Renikton L Tongkhar, the Public Health Engineering minister and HSDPD MLA from Mawkyrwat, said, “I still trust the government to come out clean on this and an inquiry has been constituted. I trust the inquiry committee to come up clearly on this.” 

When asked if he was in favour of ousting the power minister, Tongkhar said they have not discussed it since it is on a higher level and didn’t feel it was right to give an individual statement. He added that if time permits as a party, they will discuss.

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He asserted that everything is okay as of now in the MDA govt and that they are all coordinating with each other and will do things collectively.

There has been no government that has not been accused of being corrupt, said Tongkhar. 

“Even during the Congress government, the general public kept alleging that they were corrupt. Of course, we take it seriously. If people are saying that they are concerned, we keep assessing every day to see how to rectify because no one is perfect. We have to see because we are learning from the process. We keep listening to what people are saying and keep correcting wherever possible,” said Tongkhar.

The HSPDP MLA also added that he was not eyeing on the power department, and that he was content with what the CM had given him. However, according to the source, “it is because of one person that the whole ship is sinking.”

On July 6, 2021, BJP MLA AL Hek created a storm after he came out with a statement saying that there is no smoke without fire. Hek’s reaction was in view of the interim audit report detecting Rs 149 crore scam in Saubhagya scheme.

UDP President Metbah Lyngdoh on July 6, 2021 said the removal of the power minister lies on the wisdom of the CM.

Earlier, when James Sangma was the minister of home department, the UDP was at the forefront in demanding the immediate removal of Sangma after several allegations were levelled against him. However, things have changed with none of the UDP leaders speaking about the scam.

On February 11, 2020, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma removed James Sangma as the home minister of the state and handed the portfolio to Lahkmen Rymbui. The decision was made amid allegations leveled against James about his alleged involvement in corruption, including the running of the state’s coal mining mafia.

All eyes are now on the Cabinet if any meeting will be convened or not to discuss the power department. Will the chief minister be able to remove his brother James Sangma from the power department?

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