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Political crisis deepens in Meghalaya

india Updated: Mar 13, 2009 01:07 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times
Political crisis deepens in Meghalaya

Instability never ceases to haunt Meghalaya. This time, it is threatening to claim the one-year-old Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government.

Minutes before midnight on Wednesday, Health Minister Advisor Pariong resigned from Chief Minister Donkupar Roy’s cabinet. His resignation followed that of Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh on Tuesday and the withdrawal of support by two Independent legislators — Limison Sangma and Ismail R. Marak — on Monday.

The Congress — being the single largest party with 26 seats in the 60-member assembly — has subsequently claimed the support of 31 legislators. “We shall be staking claim on Monday to form the government,” said senior Congress leader Prestone Tynsong.

The Budget Session of the assembly begins on Monday.

The chief minister, however, sounded unfazed. “My government is under no threat and we will prove our majority on the floor of the House,” he said.

Roy’s optimism is apparently based on Lyngdoh’s resignation letter, which says he has quit the ministry and not the ruling NCP-led alliance. He is also confident that the two Independents, being associate members, would be censured as per the provisions if they switch over to the Congress.

Though a couple of “street-fighting” ministers had been giving the MPA anxious moments for the past six months, the trigger this time was provided by the Congress’ victory in the Umroi by-elections earlier this month.

However, Lyngdoh — the lone legislator from the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (HNAM) — quit alleging state NCP chief P.A. Sangma was trying to form an alternative alliance with the Congress. He resigned soon after Sangma called on Union minister P.R. Kyndiah in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The death of United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator E.K. Mawlong necessitated the Umroi bypolls. The win increased the Congress strength to 26 while reducing the UDP to 10.

Roy heads the UDP, the second largest party in the MPA after the NCP (15). Two legislators of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party, to which Pariong belongs, one of the BJP and two Independents take the MPA tally to 30.

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