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Sangma hints at Cong-NCP govt
SHILLONG, MAR 14 (Correspondent/IANS):
Published on 15 Mar. 2009 12:42 AM IST
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Former Lok Sabha speaker and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Purno A. Sangma Saturday hinted at a coalition government headed by the Congress, after the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government was reduced to a minority. “For the sake of stability and development, I am ready for any arrangement,” Sangma told journalists here. The veteran tribal leader, who was instrumental in toppling the Congress-led 10-day-old government in March last year and forming the MPA, hinted that he was not averse to the idea of a coalition government comprising the Congress, NCP, and the United Democratic Party (UDP). The NCP and the UDP were the major constituents of the MPA government with Chief Minister Donkupar Roy belonging to the UDP. “If independent MLAs can hold the state to a ransom, it does give us some food for thought,” Sangma maintained. The strength of the MPA has gone down to 28 in the 60-member legislature, while the Congress claims it commands the support of 32 legislators. Meanwhile, earlier during the day, Sangma met Meghalaya Governor RS Mooshahary and discussed with him the ongoing political turmoil in the state. “I discussed with him about the political happening and exchanged information and views concerning the ongoing political developments,” Sangma told journalists, immediately after his meeting with Mooshahary. Sangma said that his visit to the Raj Bhavan was only a courtesy call on the governor, especially in view of what was happening in the state. “I thought it was my duty as a senior citizen of the state to call on the first citizen of the state. The general discussion was on what is happening in the state, and there was nothing concrete,” the former Lok Sabha Speaker stated. 2 more show caused Meghalaya Governor R S Mooshahary has asked Speaker B M Lanong to maintain status quo of members in respect of their right to vote in the March 17 trust motion in the assembly even as Lanong today issued show-cause notices to two more MLAs for quitting the MPA government reducing it to a minority. Lanong told PTI that the Governor said that he wanted the proceedings on the day to be video recorded and that there should not be any other business. “The Governor also said that the status quo of the members in respect of their rights to vote and right to speech be maintained. To this, I replied that the rights of the members would be protected,” the Speaker said. The assembly meets from Monday to enable chief minister Donkupar Roy to seek a trust vote slated for Tuesday. The Governor has given directives for video recording of the proceedings of the House during the March 17 trust vote. The Governor issued the directives underlining the Speakers ‘constitutional duties’ in the House last evening, making it among the rarest instance when a constitutional head has given such instructions to the legislature. Meanwhile, the Speaker issued show-cause notices to HSPDP MLA Advisor Paring and lone MLA from KHANM Paul Lyngdoh for deserting ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) and gave them time till 12 noon of March 16 to comply. Lanong said he issued the show-cause to Pariong based on a complaint by his party HSPDP. “His party said Pariong violated the party whip by resigning from the cabinet and also the whip of the MPA. Pariong, one of the two MLAs of the HSPDP, had resigned as the health minister on Wednesday and was said to be ‘missing’ till date. The show-cause to Paul Lyngdoh was based on a complaint by the MPA as well as the HSPDP. “The HSPDP was KHNAMs pre-poll ally. By quitting, Paul also violated the MPA whip,” the Speaker said. Paul, Urban Affairs minister, had pulled out of MPA on Thursday. Meanwhile, the two independent legislators Limison Sangma and Ismail R Marak, who were earlier served show cause notices by Lanong for deserting MPA, gave their replies. The Speaker said he would study the replies and then decide on his course of action. Congress would move a resolution in the House for removal of the Speaker for going to the media with a ‘pre-determined mind’ to disqualify the two Independents after their decision to withdraw support to the MPA government. The Congress alleged he had undermined the dignity and value of the high office of the Speaker. Meanwhile, the Congress party urged the Meghalaya Governor, RS Mooshahary to dismiss the Donkupar Roy-led government saying it has been reduced to minority. “We have asked the governor, who is the custodian of the constitution to dismiss the Donkupar Roy government without giving him any further opportunity and time,” AICC General Secretary Luizinho Faleiro told reporters. Chief Minister Donkupar Roy however said the MPA would survive the floor test. Roy said, “Negotiations with those who abandoned us are progressing positively. We are with the MPA and we will prove our majority on March 17”. On Sangma’s proposition for an alliance with the Congress, Roy said it was a “thought” before the assembly elections last year. “But, now that does not arise.” He, however, went on to add that in politics nothing was permanent. “What is impossible today may be possible tomorrow.” The chief minister also favoured an amendment in the 10th schedule of the constitution to prevent MLAs from defecting “as and when they felt”.

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