Meghalaya chief Minister DD Lapang will take his floor test on Wednesday, nine days after he was sworn in as chief of the single largest party. Breaking convention, the test will be held first, followed by the election of the Speaker.
But Lapang, sources said, may quit ahead the floor test. Highly-placed sources in the Congress said the decision may be taken at the CLP meeting to be held before the trust vote on Wednesday.
The Congress emerged the single largest party with 25 seats in the 60-member House — currently its effective strength is 59 — in the recent Assembly polls. It managed to rope in three Independents, by making them ministers, raising its tally to 28. It still needs two more MLAs to win the floor test.
Against it is ranged the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) led by the NCP and comprising other regional parties and Independents. The MPA claims a strength of 31 MLAs, including the NCP’s 14 and 11 of the regional United Democratic Party (UDP). It expects to bring down the Lapang government when the test is held.
Lapang’s proposal to hold the floor test before election of the Speaker invited a token protest from the MPA. The latter is wary of “last minute deals” by the Congress.
After being sworn in, Lapang had inducted all three Independents in the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance in his eight-member ministry. More than sending a message to the MPA constituents, the move reportedly angered senior Congress legislators from the West Khasi Hills district.
Meanwhile, NCP general secretary Purno Sangma was confident the Congress-led alliance would fail the test. “Lapang should should quit gracefully before he is humiliated on the floor of the House.”
Despite the confidence level, the MPA constituents met at UDP chief Donkupar Roy’s house to “strengthen the inseparable bond” prior to the floor test. Roy admitted there were feelers from the Congress, but “things had gone beyond” rekindling friendship. The UDP was the Congress’ ally in the previous government.