Former Lok Sabha Speaker and leader of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Purno Agitok Sangma on Tuesday dared the newly sworn-in Chief Minister of Meghalaya DD Lapang to prove his majority in the floor of the assembly.
"No money can help the Congress to get the required numbers in the floor of the house," Sangma told IANS by telephone.
Lapang was Monday sworn-in as chief minister by Governor S.S. Sidhu despite a combine of assorted parties claiming a strength of 31 in the 60-member legislature.
The governor had given 10 days to Lapang to prove his majority on the floor of the house. The Congress party has 25 legislators.
The tug of war began after Sangma came up with sort of a masterstroke halting what looked like a smooth sailing for the Congress. He struck a power sharing deal with the United Democratic Party (UDP) and the two parties have managed to bring in all elected members belonging to regional parties and two independents into their fold.
They hastily formed the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) headed by UDP leader Donkupar Roy. Apart from 14 members from the NCP and 11 from the UDP, the MPA alliance has with it two members from the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), and one each from the Khun Hynnieutrip National Awakening Movement and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The alliance has two independent legislators in its fold.
"We paraded all the 31 legislators before the governor on Monday, but to no avail. But then everything would be proved during the trial of strength in the house," Sangma said.
MPA sources said they would file a writ petition in the Supreme Court on Tuesday challenging the governor's decision to invite Lapang to form the government.
In the last assembly, the UDP was a partner in the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government. There was, however, no pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the UDP.
Political instability is the hallmark of Meghalaya - the state has seen six different governments with varied combinations of political parties, resulting in four chief ministers in a span of five years between 1998 and the last assembly elections in 2003.
There were just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete a full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.