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Election of Speaker, trust vote first tests for NPP-led govt in Meghalaya

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government which has 37 legislators in a 60-member House is expected to sail through easily.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2018 17:44 IST
David Laitphlang
David Laitphlang
Hindustan Times, Shillong
Meghalaya,Meghalaya Democratic Alliance,Conrad Sangma
Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma ‘s MDA government has a comfortable majority in the assembly.(PTI Photo)

The new Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government will face its first tests on Monday with the election of the Speaker and a vote of confidence.

Led by the National People’s Party and comprising the BJP, United Democratic Party, Peoples Democratic Front and Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, the alliance will meet late Sunday evening to chalk out a strategy for the election of the Speaker and trust vote. The government is likely to sail through both encounters.

Chief minister Conrad Sangma on Saturday said issuing of whip to all coalition partners will be decided in the meeting. According to the schedule, the election to the assembly Speaker will be held first after which chief minister Sangma will seek the confidence of the house for his government.

Former chief minister and UDP legislator Donkupar Roy is the candidate of the MDA for the post of the Speaker, while the Congress has fielded Winnerson Sangma.

The MDA with an initial strength of 34 members comprising NPP (19), UDP (6), HSPDP (2), PDF (4), BJP (2) was further buttressed with the joining of lone NCP legislator Saleng Sangma and independents Samuel Sangma and Lambor Malngiang. It now has 37 members while the Congress has 21, including an extra seat being held by former chief minister Dr. Mukul Sangma.

On paper it seems smooth sailing for the MDA. But the local media has reported that there are rumblings of discontent amongst the regional parties’ legislators over portfolio allotment with some indicating that they may leave the coalition.

A legislator requesting anonymity said, “Yes that’s true, there is some discontent over portfolio allocation and some friends have hinted at leaving the coalition to form a third front without the Congress.”

But without the Congress, dissidents simply won’t have the numbers to upset the applecart. Such a grouping is also highly unlikely since independent legislator SK Sunn has not decided yet on whom to support while lone the Khun Hynñiewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) MLA, Adelbert Nongrum has categorically said that he would not associate with the Congress.

“I’ll sit in the opposition but will not support the Congress,” he had stated the day he took oath as a member of the house.

But Meghalaya politics, which is known for its sudden surprises, may witness an eventful Speaker’s election and vote of confidence on Monday.

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 17:44 IST