Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma on Tuesday formed his new council of ministers by inducting 11 members from the Congress. Mukul Sangma also scripted new political history in the state by inducting three women legislators as ministers.
Of the 25 women who contested the recently concluded assembly elections, only four, Ampareen Lyngdoh, Roshan Warjri, Deborah C Marak and Dikkanchi D Shira, won the Assembly polls. Shira is Sangma's wife.
"One-fourth of the strength of the council of ministers being given to women is a history in itself," the chief minister told IANS.
Governor RS Mooshahary administered the oath to the 11 ministers, including two deputy chief ministers, at a ceremony at Raj Bhavan. Six of them were ministers in the previous Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government.
Rowell Lyngdoh, who was deputy chief minister in-charge of health and family welfare in the previous coalition government, retained his cabinet rank while former education minister RC Laloo has been elevated to deputy chief minister.
HDR Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, Alexander Hek and Ampareen Lyngdoh, who were cabinet ministers in the previous Mukul Sangma-led ministry, also retained their cabinet berths.
The new faces in the Mukul Sangma cabinet are former deputy chief minister Deborah C Marak, former urban affairs minister Roshan Warjri, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Clement Marak and Zenith M Sangma.
Zenith Sangma is the youngest brother of the chief minister. The swearing-in ceremony was held after Mukul Sangma held consultations with Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders about the list of ministers.
"Senior Congress legislators who could not find a place in the cabinet will be appointed as parliamentary secretaries and chairmen of government-run boards and corporations," Mukul Sangma said.
"Their (Congress legislators) services will be utilised in such a way to allow them to perform at the optimum," he said.
Mukul Sangma, who was seen as the architect of the Congress's victory in the assembly elections in this mountainous northeastern state, was sworn in as chief minister for the second time in a row March 5.
The Congress emerged the single largest party with 29 seats, two short of a majority in the 60-member house. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which secured two seats, and 11 independent legislators have extended "unconditional support" to the Congress.