Call him stubborn or bold, Mukul Sangma had his way, once again. The cabinet reshuffle, after three and a half years of heading the government, is an indication that Mukul Sangma won’t bow much to the pressure of his dissidents, who have been after his blood for a long time. Every time the fire of dissidence starts getting bigger, Mukul plays his card and makes AICC declare it a ‘family matter’. Mukul stays on, quite an achievement considering the state’s infamy of political instability. Despite speculations of his losing the chair several times in the past five years, owing to trouble in his own party, he kept on holding the rein.
Both the new incumbents, Ronny V Lyngdoh and Martin Danggo, were known to be Mukul confidante, until they were also reportedly seen in the dissident camp in the last wave against Mukul. With the reshuffle, Mukul now has at least two new faces to vouch for him in the cabinet as those who were shown the door reportedly had not been firm in their support (to Mukul). While the outgoing health minister AL Hek, a former BJP MLA, reportedly met top leadership of the saffron party, the Congress veteran deputy chief minister Rowell Lyngdoh was not shy of sharing dissidents’ concern over Mukul’s ‘dictatorial’ leadership.
As it used to be, performance could be the least-considered criterion in going ahead with the cabinet reshuffle. However, the age factor might also have gone against Rowell Lyngdoh while it’s not clear what actually went against Hek to be shown the door. Ronnie Lyngdoh is considered a young and audible voice in the assembly as well as outside. However, the reshuffle has least positive to do with public affairs. It’s just a survival tactic of the government, or to be precise, of Mukul Sangma. Political considerations always get preference in major decisions of the government, rather than the ground reality.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on August 27, 2016)