Meghalaya chief secretary on leave to 'avoid controversy'

Shillong, Feb 14 : Following the footsteps of his Nagaland counterpart, Meghalaya chief secretary W.M.S. Pariat will be going on leave as his brother-in-law is contesting the state assembly elections.

"I am going on leave for 15 days (from Thursday) since my brother-in-law is contesting the assembly elections and to avoid any controversies," Pariat told IANS.

Lamboklang Mylliem is contesting the Feb 23 polls from Jirang assembly constituency in Ri-Bhoi district, bordering Assam's Kamrup district.

Former Meghalaya chief minister J.D. Rymbai, who had been elected for five consecutive term decided not to contest the assembly elections.

"My 15 days' leave was to assure the people of the state that the entire elections process are being held in free and fair manner," Pariat added.

Pariat said the Election Commission has granted them leave following their request to ensure free and fair polls.

The Election Commission has directed P.B.O. Warjri, additional chief secretary in-charge forest and environment to take the charge of chief secretary till the entire election process is over.

Nagaland chief secretary Alemtemshi Jamir and additional chief secretary Banou Z. Jamir have gone on leave to ensure a fair play as their son Merentoshi is contesting the state assembly elections.

Meghalaya and Nagaland will elect new legislators for the 60-member assembly Feb 23. Counting will take place Feb 28.