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Political crisis in Meghalaya; CM for floor test

March 11, 2009 16:47 IST

Crisis gripped politically-volatile Meghalaya on Wednesday with the Nationalist Congress Party led-Meghalaya Progressive Alliance losing majority after withdrawal of support by a senior minister, while the Opposition Congress stated it was being 'contacted from all sides'.

Urban Affairs Minister and the lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement legislator Paul Lyngdoh and two independents, Limison Sangma and Ismail R Marak, pulled out from the MPA coalition in the last three days, reducing MPA's strength to 30 in the 60-member assembly.

Chief Minister Donkupar Roy, however, said he would not resign and favoured a floor test in the House.

The chief minister said he lodged a complaint with Speaker B M Lanong for disqualification of the two independents who had switched allegiance to the Congress.

The MPA partners went into a huddle at the Chief Minister's residence, with Roy claiming that neither the UDP, which he leads, nor the NCP would go with the Congress.

NCP leader and Finance Minister Conrad Sangma also maintained that P A Sangma had held no talks with Congress President Sonia Gandhi, as claimed by Opposition leader D D Lapang.

The Congress, meanwhile, was keeping its options open, with its leader Lapang not ruling out the possibility of a tie-up with the NCP.

"We are being contacted from all sides. We are weighing our options. As a responsible party we will have to ensure that we give a stable government when the MPA collapses," Lapang told PTI.

He confirmed that KHNAM MLA Paul Lyngdoh was in the fold of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA). Lapang, however, said his party would not welcome President's Rule.

"We will not welcome President's Rule. I believe none of the MLAs in the state would want it. After all the people would blame the MLAs if there is such a scenario," Lapang said.

Raj Bhavan sources said neither the chief minister nor Lapang had sought an appointment with the Governor so far.

The 12-month old five-party ruling MPA now has 30 seats -- NCP 15, UDP 10, Hill State Peoples Democratic Party 2, BJP 1 and two independents.

The Congress is the single largest party with 26 seats and now has the support of three Independents and the lone MLA of KHNAM.

After the March 2008 assembly elections, Lapang was sworn in as chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government, but resigned 10 days later, ahead of a scheduled trust vote, when he failed to muster majority support.

Political instability has been the hallmark of Meghalaya,  a state which has never witnessed any political party securing a majority except during the first assembly elections.

The state has witnessed 18 governments in the last 35 years.

There were just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete a five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.

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