Both AL Hek and Sanbor Shullai looked “comfortable” where they are and there is no need to share the lone Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seat in the council of ministers between the pair, the saffron party’s national Vice-President, Chuba Ao, said here today.
Hek and Shullai are the only two MLAs that the BJP has in the 60-seat Meghalaya Assembly. While Hek is Health and Family Welfare Minister, Shullai has no cabinet portfolio but is the Chairman of the Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation.
“I think they are comfortable, they are doing their best for the state and also delivering the best for the people,” Ao said while on a visit to Meghalaya.
Although Shullai has claimed that there was an arrangement that, midway through the government’s five-year term, Hek would share the BJP’s seat in cabinet, Ao said that this might have been a personal agreement between the two MLAs or one within the coalition government itself, but has not been discussed by the BJP.
“It is the prerogative of the Chief Minister (on who is in his cabinet). I am not involved in this because we do not have any written agreement. So, that is not an issue,” he said. “It is purely a governance matter. We cannot say that you should reshuffle, one should step down and another should be elevated, we can’t dictate like this. There should be proper consultation and we have to look at the performance.”
There were reports that Shullai, during the party meeting yesterday, had raised the issue of a change in cabinet berths, claiming that there was an agreement in this regard between the two legislators when the government was formed in 2018.