Meghalaya cabinet expanded, court not to reverse governor’s decision

March 12th, 2008 - 9:05 pm ICT by admin  

Shillong, March 12 (IANS) Seven legislators were sworn in as ministers Wednesday in Meghalaya even as the Supreme Court struck down a writ petition challenging the governor’s decision to invite D.D. Lapang to form a new government. The apex court said in a ruling Wednesday that it could not interfere with Governor S.S. Sidhu’s decision “at this stage”.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Sidhu’s decision Monday inviting Congress leader Lapang to form the government after assembly elections threw up a fractured mandate.

The governor said he had invited Lapang as the Congress emerged as the single largest party with 25 legislators in the 60-member house.

The NCP with 14 legislators came second followed by the regional United Democratic Party (11 MLAs).

The tug of war began after NCP leader and former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma struck a power sharing deal with the UDP and the two parties managed to bring in all legislators of regional parties and two independents into their fold.

Their hastily formed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) also has two members from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and one each from the Khun Hynnieutrip National Awakening Movement and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Along with two independent legislators, the MPA paraded 31 legislators before the governor Monday.

The governor, however, invited Lapang saying the Congress was the single largest party and that the MPA was formed only after the results were announced. Lapang was given 10 days to prove his majority on the floor of the house.

On Wednesday, seven more legislators, including three independents, were sworn in as ministers with former deputy chief minister and Congress MLA from Ampattigiri Mukul Sangma retaining his portfolio.

Former minister Prestone Tynsong, former speaker M.M. Danggo and R.C. Laloo were sworn in as ministers, besides independent MLA Abu Taher Mondal.

Two other independent MLAs - Limison Sangma and Ismail R. Marak - were also inducted as ministers of state. Four berths are still vacant in the 12-member cabinet.

“Consultations are on with other legislators and we shall be able to prove our majority in the floor of the house,” Lapang said.

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