Meghalaya government loses majority support (Lead)

March 11th, 2009 - 11:42 am ICT by IANS  

Shillong, March 11 (IANS) Political uncertainty gripped Meghalaya as the government Wednesday lost majority support in the 60-member legislature after a senior minister quit and switched loyalty to the Congress party.
Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Donkupar Roy, reducing the strength of the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) to 30. The Congress strength now goes up from 27 to 30.

On Monday, two independent legislators, Limison Sangma and Ismail R. Marak, withdrew support to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-led MPA government, putting the coalition under threat.

All the three lawmakers have resigned apparently over the functioning of the government and the lack of development work in their constituencies.

Meanwhile, hectic parleys are on by the Congress to stake claim to form a new government.

In the assembly, the MPA now has the support of 30 legislators: NCP (15), United Democratic Party (10) and five legislators from smaller parties including one of the Bharatiya Janata Party.

“We are not trying to topple the government but now we cannot remain silent. We would have to act,” former chief minister and Congress leader D.D. Lapang said.

The chief minister, however, remained unfazed and said there was no threat to his government.

The focus now shifts to the Raj Bhawan with Governor R.S. Mooshahary likely to call for a floor test if the Congress stakes claim to the form a government.

“The governor is keenly watching the developments and will act according to constitutional provisions,” a Raj Bhawan official said.

After the March 2008 assembly election, Lapang was sworn-in as chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government. He resigned 10 days later ahead of a trust vote after failing to muster majority support.

Political instability is the hallmark in Meghalaya. The state has seen six governments with varied combinations of political parties, resulting in four chief ministers between 1998 and 2003.

There were just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete a full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.

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