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Meghalaya is now under Central rule

Source: PTI
March 19, 2009 14:30 IST
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Meghalaya, which witnessed a controversial confidence vote in the Assembly, was today brought under the Central rule and the state assembly put under suspended animation.

A Rashtrapati Bhavan spokesperson said President Pratibha Patil gave her nod to the decision taken by the Union Cabinet yesterday.

 "The President has signed the proclamation for imposing Central rule in Meghalaya," the spokesperson said.

The Cabinet decision to bring the state under Central rule and to keep the Assembly under suspended animation came following a report given by Governor R S Moosahary about the breakdown of Constitutional machinery in the state. 

Aided by Speaker B M Lanong who invalidated the votes of four rebel members ignoring the Governor's directive and exercised his casting vote to break a tie, the NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance government had on Tuesday survived a confidence vote in the assembly.

The Speaker had suspended five MLAs, who withdrew support to the government, under the Anti-Defection Law ignoring the Governor's directive that he maintain status quo on the voting rights of members and cast his vote when there was a 27:27 tie in the 60-member House during division.

Immediately after the Union Cabinet decided to impose President's rule in Meghalaya, Senior NCP leader and main architect of the MPA government P A Sangma said he would move the Supreme Court against the move.

He termed the Cabinet's decision as "unwarranted" and "unprecedented" and said "the decision is not as per the Constitution and the MPA government had won the confidence vote on the floor of the Assembly. There was no manipulation and everything was according to law."

The MLAs, who had been suspended by the Speaker, had moved the Gauhati High Court, which issued notices to Lanong asking him to explain why the suspension of five MLAs ahead of the trust vote won by the NCP-led government should not be quashed.

A Shillong bench of the court headed by Justice T Vaiphei had asked the Speaker and the other respondents why it should not quash Lanong's order for interim suspension of the MLAs.

The Court is expected to pass an interim verdict on the petition filed by independent MLAs Paul Lyngdoh and  Limison Sangma and that on three other legislators Ismail R Marak, Advisor Pariong and Sabor Shullai next week.

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