Lapang of Congress takes oath as Meghalaya chief minister

March 10th, 2008 - 9:48 pm ICT by admin  

Shillong, March 10 (IANS) D.D. Lapang was Monday night sworn in as Meghalaya chief minister after Governor S.S. Sidhu ignored a coalition’s claim and invited the Congress to form the government. Governor S.S. Sidhu administered the oath of office and secrecy to Lapang and asked him to prove his majority in floor of the 60-member legislature within 10 days.

The move came despite a combine of assorted parties claiming support of 33 legislators. The Congress has 25 MLAs.

“Governor S.S. Sidhu has gone by the book and invited Lapang as the leader of the largest single party to form the government. He has been given 10 days’ time within which to prove his strength on the floor of the assembly,” a Raj Bhawan official said.

Lapang said he would be able to prove his majority in the assembly.

Earlier in the day, the newly formed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) headed by United Democratic Party (UDP) leader Donkupar Roy and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) veteran P.A. Sangma met the governor and paraded 33 members to press him to invite the combine to form the new government.

The governor, however, stuck to convention and invited the Congress, the largest single party, to form the government.

The tug of war began after former Lok Sabha speaker Sangma came up with a masterstroke, halting what looked like a smooth sailing for the Congress.

He struck a power sharing deal with the UDP and the two parties managed to bring in all elected members belonging to regional parties and two independents into their fold.

“The NCP will not enter into any alliance with the Congress to form the government. We shall support the UDP in forming the new government and we have all the regional party MLAs and enough independents in our grouping,” Sangma announced.

Although the NCP has won 14 seats and the UDP only 11, Sangma offered the chief ministership to UDP president Roy. That acted as a clincher in forging the new combine.

“We have reached an agreement. For the first two-and-a-half years, the post of chief minister will be held by the UDP. For the remaining term, it will go to the NCP,” Sangma said.

Apart from 14 members from the NCP and 11 from the UDP, the MPA has with it two members from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), one each from the Khun Hynnieutrip National Awakening Movement and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and two independents.

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