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Cong jilts NCP in Meghalaya
Corespondent SHILLONG, MAY 12:
Published on 13 May. 2009 12:57 AM IST
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In a major blow to the NCP, the Congress party Tuesday decided to align with the United Democratic Party (UDP) for the formation of a popular government in Meghalaya. “A Congress-UDP coalition government will be sworn in tomorrow ending the President’s rule in the state,” Governor RS Mooshahary told reporters at Raj Bhavan here. He said the Congress-UDP coalition government will be given a 15-days time to prove their majority in the floor of the House. The formal Presidential notification revoking President’s Rule would reach the Raj Bhavan tomorrow before the swearing-in ceremony, the Governor said. Earlier in the day, designated Chief Minister DD Lapang drove to Raj Bhavan with UDP President Dr Donkupar Roy and UDP Parliamentary Party leader JD Rymbai and jointly staked claim to form a Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government. AICC General Secretary in-charge Luizinho Faleiro and Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee Chief Friday Lyngdoh also accompanied Lapang. The leaders of the new alliance also submitted a list of 37 members, including nine UDP legislators and two Independent MLAs - AT Mondal and Donkupar Massar, besides, handing over a Memorandum of Agreement signed between the Congress and UDP leaders for the installation of a new government. “With 37 members, I am sure the new government to be sworn in tomorrow will be a stable one,” Mooshahary said. The Congress has 28 members, including the two Independent, while the UDP has nine members of the effective strength of 55 in 60-member House. Though the Congress is yet to finalise the list of ministers, UDP legislators - Assembly Speaker Bindo M Lanong would be sworn in as Deputy Chief Minister and JA Lyngdoh as a cabinet minister. Lyngdoh was a cabinet minister in the dismissed NCP-UDP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government. The two Independents would also get a cabinet berth in the new government. Though, the top leadership of the Congress and NCP were working hard to cobble-up a Maharashtra (Congress-NCP) political equation in Meghalaya, the planned failed due to NCP’s huge bargain over the composition of its position in the new coalition government. “The NCP had made huge demand to us. They demanded four cabinet berths and other political appointments, we cannot comply to such demands and decided to tie up with the UDP,” Meghalaya Congress Unit President Friday Lyngdoh said. “We have no other option but to work with UDP which extended an unconditional support to us,” the Congress Chief said. Echoing similar views, Lapang also approved the directives of the high command. “As a disciplined Congress worker, I have to abide by the directives of the high command and we welcome their decision,” he added. Former Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy, who will be accommodated as Chairman of the Meghalaya state Planning Board said that the UDP decided to support the Congress mainly due to the political betrayal of the NCP leader Purno A Sangma to his MPA allies. “We were ready to sit in the opposition, but when the Congress-NCP combination failed to take place, we decided to support the Congress for forming a popular government in the interest of the people,” Roy said. President Rule was imposed in Meghalaya on March 19; two days after the NCP-backed MPA government won the vote of confidence in the floor of the House with Assembly Speaker exercised his “voting rights” in MPA’s favour. Before the trust-vote, Lanong invalidated the votes of fives members, including his deputy Sanbor Shullai for shifting their allegiance to the opposition Congress.

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