A day after DD Lapang was sworn in as chief minister of Meghalaya, a newly elected Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) MLA on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court challenging Governor SS Sidhu’s decision to invite Congress to form the Government in the state.
In his petition filed through advocate Sridhar Potaraju, Conard K Sangma, son of former Lok Sabha Seaker PA Sangma challenged Governor’s decision on the ground that the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, a post-poll alliance led by the NCP, had 31 members in the 60-member house.
The petitioner alleged that the Governor failed to discharge his functions in accordance with his oath i.e. to protect and defend the Constitution and the law and, therefore, his decision should be set aside and the Alliance should be invited to form the new government.
Senior advocate Soli J Sorabjee mentioned the petition for urgent hearing before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan, which agreed to hear it on Wednesday.
The petitioner said the Congress got only 25 seats, five short of majority in the new House, and the Governor could not have invited Lapang to form the Government. With merely 25 MLAs the Congress would not be able to provide a stable government in Meghalaya and the Governor’s decision would encourage horse trading and led to political instability in the state, he contended.
The NCP, which got 14 seats, has formed a post-poll alliance with the BJP (one seat), United Democratic Party (11 seats), Khun Hynniewtrip National Awakening Movement (one seat) and Independent MLAs, to claim power in the state. The alliance elected Donkupar Roy as their leader and met Sidhu on Monday to stake claim to form the government but Sidhu chose to invite Lapang.
“When a post-poll alliance comprise majority the Governor is bound to invite the leader of such alliance to form the Government. The Governor cannot exercise any discretion when all the members constituting majority are present physically before him,” Sangma said.