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Home > India > News > PTI

Meghalaya: Congress and rivals stake claim

March 08, 2008 13:08 IST
Last Updated: March 09, 2008 00:18 IST

The race for power in Meghalaya took a new turn on Saturday with the opposition NCP-UDP combine appearing to have stitched up a simple majority and staked claim to form the government to thwart Congress plans.

The UDP-NCP combine, which named itself as the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, paraded 30 newly-elected MLAs of the 60-member assembly before Governor S S Sidhu to press their claim to press their claim to form the new government.

Former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma, who led the NCP charge and was elected along with his two sons, was not present. UDP President Donkupar Roy is projected as the MPA Chief Minister.

Chief Minister D D Lapang separately met the Governor to stake claim to form a Congress-led government. The Congress has emerged as the single largest party with 25 seats.

"Both sides have made their claims with certain numbers and I shall consider these to the best of my personal judgment," the Governor told reporters.

Sidhu said he would first appoint a pro tem speaker who will swear in the new set of legislators. "After this, my priority will be to ensure that a stable government in place and that horse-trading is totally discouraged in the larger interest of the state," he said.

Lapang told reporters after being elected Congress legislature party leader, "We are the single largest party, and as per norms we should be invited to form the government".

Asked how the party would get to the magic number of 31, Lapang, said, "We are looking for friends. We are confident of getting them, and we will prove our majority on the floor of the house".

Congress emerged as the single largest party with 25 seats in the 60-member assembly. The NCP, which won 14 seats, has combined with the 11-member United Democratic Party, a former ally of Congress, and the lone BJP member to form the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance to support its claim.

It also claims the support of two HSPDP MLAs, one KHNAM legislator and two independents. The new combine is also confident of roping in more independents, NCP state president W R Kharluki said.

The Congress, which fought the elections on its own, elected Lapang as CLP leader. He would shortly meet the Governor, party spokesman Mukul Sangma said.

He was silent on how the party would reach the magic figure of 31.

Kharluki said of the five independents, the MPA already had the support of two and was trying to rope in two others which would take the number of legislators to 32.

The NCP had won 14 seats, UDP 11, BJP 1, Khun Hynnieutrip National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) 1, Hills State Democratic Party (HSPDP) 2.

The chief ministerial candidate of the MPA would be former deputy chief minister Donkupar Roy, Kharluki said after a meeting with the UDP.

He said NCP national general secretary Purno Sangma was arriving in Shillong from Tura after which a meeting would be held with other partners. The MPA would then meet the Governor to formally stake claim, he said.

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