SHILLONG, Aug 04: The MUA – II state government led by Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma saw the induction of two new ministers by way of Celestine Lyngdoh and Comingone Ymbon who were administered their oath of office by Governor Banwarilal Purohit here on Friday.
Though the swearing in ceremony saw the attendance of MPCC chief Dr. DD Lapang and the state’s other Cabinet Ministers, Prestone Tynsong and Sniawbhalang Dhar who were removed from their cabinet berths to make way for Lyngdoh and Ymbon were conspicuous in their absence.
This is the second time that Dr. Sangma has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet and is being read as a last ditch effort of the beleaguered Congress party to prevent its MLAs from joining other political parties ahead of the crucial 2018 assembly elections.
The first ever cabinet reshuffling of the MUA II government took place in the same month, last year when former deputy CM Rowel Lyngdoh and former health minister AL Hek were ousted.
Dr. Sangma meanwhile that there will however be no major reshuffling in as far as portfolios are concerned and declared that the first timer cabinet ministers will take charge from their predecessors.
“Celestine Lyngdoh, a sitting Congress MLA from Umsning, will take over as new minister in-charge Public Health Engineering (PHE) department, which was earlier held by Tynsong while Congress legislator from Raliang Comingone Ymbon will look after the Community & Rural Development (C&RD) department and Power department,” he said.
Lyngdoh is also entrusted with District Council Affairs (DCA) department and Border Areas Development (BAD).
Congratulating the new members, Dr. Sangma said, “Everyday is an important day (for them) so they will have to acclimatize to the challenges of responsibilities and I am confident that they will be able to respond to the challenges of the call of duty as members of the cabinet and I am looking forward to working together with them.”
Asked why he had effected a cabinet reshuffling when elections are just a few months away, Dr. Sangma said that there should have been more of these reshufflings as this will create a “healthy environment”.
“The reason is also because we want to create space for everyone and at the same time that space can be utilized for enabling us to find out who can also be there in our endeavor to serve the people in the best way possible,” he said.
Asserting that the space of responsibility is not only just in the cabinet, it is also outside, he said, “We need friends, we need people within the party to be assigned with responsibilities to further strengthen the party amidst challenges we face in the course of discharging our responsibility.”
Downplaying the notion that the reshuffling of the cabinet was to thwart the attempt by sitting legislators to ditch the party at the last minute, Dr. Sangma however said that whenever there is an exercise of reshuffling there will be some amount of doubts, presumptions and assumptions generated.
“This scene (doubts) we have seen in the past and it’s nothing new to have that kind of rumors but as of now I have not exercised this responsibility from that perspective. In fact, what is important is to utilize people available while serving the people and the state,” he said.
Asked whether it is a wrong time for new comers and right time for the people who have been removed from the cabinet as they will have an opportunity and time to spend in their constituency, he said, “Yes, in fact I would like many more ministers telling me that they are relieved so that they can focus on their respective constituencies and also make themselves available for the affairs of the party. I will be happy and in fact I have been suggesting that.”
Earlier, both the newly inducted ministers agreed that four months time is “too short” for them to be able to perform as expected.
“It’s only four months left and time is very short but I will try my best (to perform) for the society and the state,” Ymbon said after the swearing in ceremony.
Asked whether the time is wrong for the induction, the new C&RD minister however said, “No, it is not wrong, in fact it is the right time to show people of the state. I am confident that I will be able to do justice with the cooperation and blessings of the Chief Minister.”
Echoing similar views, Lyngdoh said that he will also try his best to perform though time is very short. “Whatever responsibility is given, I will try the best that I can,” the new PHE minister said.
On his top priorities, Lyngdoh said that they will discuss the matter with the Chief Minister and accordingly “we will work as a team”.
“Being a new minister of the department, I will first find out what are the problems of the department but I can answer better in a few days time,” he said while expressing his gratitude to the Chief Minister for giving him this opportunity.