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Political instability dogs Meghalaya in2009
Published on 28 Dec. 2009 11:24 PM IST
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Political chicanery and intrigue marked 2009 reminding once again of the fragile political landscape that is Meghalaya which has always been known for its political instability since its inception in 1972. If in 2008 the regional United Democratic Party (UDP) and the NCP reaped political harvest by forming a coalition government styled as the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA), 2009 heralded its downfall leading to disintegration of the coalition. The downfall of the MPA government started when the Congress managed to snatch away from the UDP the Umroi Assembly seat in a by-election raising its strength from 25 to 26 legislators in the 60-member Assembly. The move also provided the much-needed boost for engineering the downfall of the UDP-NCP led MPA coalition government. The Congress under its legislature party leader DD Lapang managed to wean away the ruling MPA dissident legislators that led to the collapse of the year-old MPA government. Two independent legislators, Limison Sangma and Ismail R Marak, were the first to crossover to the Congress camp by withdrawing their support to the MPA government. No sooner had the two independent legislators pulled out of the MPA coalition, Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy, who is the UDP president, received another jolt when his Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh and lone Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) legislator quit the coalition. To add to the MPA coalition woes, internal bickering within the NCP and UDP-coalition added to the instability of the Roy-led government. Deputy Speaker and NCP legislator Sanbor Shullai along with HSPDP legislator Dr Adviser Pariong went underground in an obvious message of their support to the Congress. In a desperate bid to save the MPA government, Assembly Speaker Bindo Mathew Lanong disqualified four of the five rebel legislators from assembly membership, reported UNI. However, this was not enough to save the MPA government despite the government winning the trust vote with a wafer-thin majority after Lanong suspended the voting rights of the five dissident MLAs. With political instability continuing and a Congress-led Congress government at the Centre, President’s Rule was clamped on the state on March 19 keeping the State Assembly under animated suspension. Meghalaya had been put under Central rule for the first time in 1991 when the Congress tried to topple the late BB Lyngdoh-led regional parties coalition government. But it was lifted in 1992 to pave way for a Congress-led government under DD Lapang. This year, for the second time, Central was imposed but only for two months. However, during these two months the political drama continued as two UDP legislators Nimarson M Momin and M Ampareen Lyngdoh resigned from the party and the State Assembly. Three weeks later, Momin withdrew his resignation but Ampareen Lyngdoh stuck to her decision. Her resignation rocked the UDP and Roy had to step down as its parliamentary party leader. Lyngdohs resignation virtually catapulted the Congress to the seat of power when the Centre lifted President’s rule and allowed the Congress to form a coalition government styled as the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) coalition government with Lapang as Chief Minister. Lyngdoh, who later joined the Congress, was rewarded by Lapang with a ministerial berth in the new government. She even won the by-election to the state Assembly hands down. Strangely, Lapang formed the government with the UDP which it had dislodged from the seat of power. However, it managed to force the NCP to sit in the opposition. Another feather in the Congress cap in 2009 was the decision of lone BJP legislator Alexander Hek to leave the saffron party and join the Congress. However, the year 2009 saw for the first time in Meghalaya’s political history both its Lok Sabha MP NCP Agatha K Sangma and Congress Vincent H Pala being inducted in the union cabinet as ministers of state in the Manmohan Singh-led UPA cabinet.

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