Shella, the constituency that Donkupar Roy represents in Meghalaya, has one of India’s richest cement-grade limestone deposits. It could have been the reason why he had the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) “firmly cemented” through nine “nervous” days after he staked claim to form the government.
The inevitable, as Roy put it, happened on Wednesday when he replaced DD Lapang of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) as the new chief minister. Lapang had taken charge on March 10 after acting Governor SS Sidhu invited him as the head of the single-largest party, Congress, in the hung House.
But while the 54-year-old Roy, an economist with a passion for chess, was at the forefront, the focus was on MPA’s “backroom boss” Purno Agitok Sangma, whose 14-member NCP leads the alliance.
“That the Congress had been voted out was a democratic truth, and the truth has ultimately prevailed,” he said after Sidhu invited the MPA to form the government hours after Lapang tendered his resignation.
Sangma had advised Lapang to “quit gracefully” rather than “face humiliation” on the floor of the House. Lapang did just that after two marathon rounds of meeting of the Congress Legislature Party since Tuesday.
“We could not ensure the number required, and so the CLP decided I should quit,” Lapang said.
Roy heads the United Democratic Party that has 11 members in the MPA. The NCP with 14, the Hill State People’s Democratic Party with two, and one each of BJP and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and two Independents make up the rest of the alliance.