HSPDP withdraws support to Meghalaya’s Congress government

July 14th, 2012 - 12:05 am ICT by IANS  

Shillong, Jul 13 (IANS) The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) Friday pulled out from the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government over the boundary row with Assam but there is no threat to the ministry.

In the 60-member house, the MUA now has the support of 43 legislators - Congress (28), United Democratic Party (10) and five independents, including four associate Congress members. The HSPDP, which pulled out of the MUA, has two members.

However, the Congress party said HSPDP’s withdrawing of support will not affect the stability of the Mukul Sangma-led government.

The HSPDP has also withdrawn support to the Congress-led Executive Committee of the Khasi Hill Autonomous District Council.

“The central executive committee of the HSPDP decided to withdraw support to the Congress-led government due to the dilly-dallying attitude of this (Mukul Sangma-led) government in dealing with the boundary row,” HSPDP General Secretary, E.K. Raswai, told IANS.

In fact, a group of tribal Khasis living in the disputed area in Langpih village went on an indefinite fast to put pressure on the Meghalaya government to sort out the inter-state dispute with Assam.

But the tribesmen broke their fast Thursday night after influential civil society group leaders convinced them to break their fast on humanitarian grounds.

Meghalaya became an autonomous state in 1971 and a full-fledged state Jan 21, 1972. Since then, the inter-state boundary as defined under the North Eastern Areas (Re-Organisation) Act, 1971 has been a point of difference between Meghalaya and Assam.

“The matter (boundary row) has become more acute and gone from bad to worse, but the present government has not taken any steps to stop Assam’s encroachment, intimidations and occupying Meghalaya’s territory,” Raswai said.

Earlier, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Friday said that his government wants to settle the boundary row with Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

“We want to settle the issue (boundary row) with all our neighbouring states. We want to live peacefully as good neighbours not only with Meghalaya but with all our neighbouring states,” Gogoi told IANS.

With regard to the three-decade old boundary dispute with Meghalaya, the Assam chief minister, however, favoured settling it mutually between the two states.

“We should first settle the issue on our own. If the need arises, we may involve the Supreme Court to settle the issue like we are doing with Nagaland,” Gogoi said.

In fact, the Meghalaya assembly had adopted a resolution March 16 last year, urging the union government to constitute a commission to re-examine and redefine the inter-state boundary between Meghalaya and Assam.

However, the Assam assembly unanimously passed a resolution opposing such a commission.

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