Former Meghalaya Home Minister sacked

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Shillong, June 3 (UNI) Former Meghalaya Home Minister and senior Congress leader Robert G Lyngdoh has been suspended from the party for a period of six years.

Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) president O L Nongtdu suspended Mr Lyngdoh yesterday from the party to ''avoid indiscipline'' among the rank and file of the organisation.

Mr Lyngdoh, elected twice to the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly after his father Peter G Marbaniang, senior state Cabinet Minister, was suspended from the Congress for his alleged anti-party statement against the party High Command.

Mr Lyngdoh had allegedly decided to quit the party in protest against the ''dictatorial attitude'' of the Congress High Command.

''The state leaders of the party have only promoted their vested interests. They are more interested in playing power games among themselves rather than looking after the interests of the people, '' Mr Lyngdoh told UNI here, while reacting to the MPCC's suspension order.

Mr Lyngdoh said, '' It is sad that the party higher-ups, instead of introspecting on the factors leading to organisational weaknesses, which saw the defeat of several candidates in the recently concluded elections, have decided to bury their heads in the sand and take action against individuals. '' When asked about his joining other parties, Mr Lyngdoh said he was still keeping his options open whether to join any of the political parties.

His younger sister Ampareen Lyngdoh, the lone woman MLA, was also a senior Congress leader and had left the party after she was denied the party ticket and successfully contested the March 3 Assembly election as a United Democratic Party (UDP) candidate.

Mr Lyngdoh showed his political charisma soon after being elected to the Assembly in 1998. He was elevated as Meghalaya Home Minister at a time when the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council militant outfit was at its peak.

His tough decision against the tribal Khasi militant outfit also projected him as a new generation leader who could take over the mantle of leadership of the Congress in Meghalaya.

However, many of the senior Congress leaders, including former Chief Minister D D Lapang, were at loggerheads with Mr Lyngdoh as the latter was perceived as a threat to his leadership.

The dispute between the two came out in the open when Mr Lapang was dislodged from the Chief Minister's post in 2006 with senior Congress leader J D Rymbai replacing him.

However, Mr Lapang bounced back after a year with much support from the Congress High Command.

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