Mukul finalises team with Sonia approval

Shillong, March 10: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma today arrived here with the list of 11 Congress legislators who will form part of his cabinet, which was approved by AICC president Sonia Gandhi yesterday.

Sources today said the 11 legislators who are certain to become Sangma's colleagues in his cabinet comprise Rowell Lyngdoh, R.C. Laloo, H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, A.L. Hek, Zenith M. Sangma, Clement Marak, Sniawbhalang Dhar, and three women ' Roshan Warjri, Deborah C. Marak and M. Ampareen Lyngdoh.

Sonia Gandhi approved the names last evening in a meeting with the chief minister in New Delhi.

Those who have been retained from the previous Sangma ministry include Rowell Lyngdoh, Laloo, H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Tynsong, M. Ampareen Lyngdoh and Hek.

The new faces include Zenith M. Sangma, who is also the younger brother of the chief minister, Clement Marak, who defeated NPP leader Conrad K. Sangma, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Roshan Warjri and Deborah C. Marak.

While Zenith and Clement had been legislators earlier, Dhar is a second-time legislator.

Warjri returned to the Assembly after a decade while Deborah, who is also the current Meghalaya PCC working president, had served as deputy chief minister earlier.

Sources added that Rowell Lyngdoh, the current protem Speaker, and Laloo, a veteran from West Jaintia Hills, will become the deputy chief ministers.

Rowell, who first became a legislator in 1972 representing Mawkyrwat constituency in South West Khasi Hills, had also served as Mukul Sangma's deputy in the previous Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) ministry.

From June 2004 onwards, it was made mandatory that Meghalaya cannot have more than 12 members, including the chief minister, in the cabinet.

The swearing-in ceremony of the 11 ministers is likely to take place on Tuesday as time is running out for the budget session, which has to be held before the current month comes to a close.

The chief minister was administered the oath of office and secrecy on Tuesday last at Raj Bhavan by governor R.S. Mooshahary.

However, pending approval of the names of the cabinet members, Sangma had to take oath alone.

The new legislators took oath of office on Thursday in the Assembly.