Meghalaya government reduced to minority, floor test Monday

March 12th, 2009 - 11:11 am ICT by IANS  

Shillong, March 12 (IANS) The Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government is likely to bow out and make way for the Congress to head the northeastern state as the political crisis deepened Thursday with the resignation of Health Minister Advisor Pariong. The ruling coalition is now in a minority in the state assembly.
The strength of the MPA has gone down to 29 in the 60-member legislature, while the Congress party claims it command the support of 31 legislators.

The health minister was the fourth legislator in the past four days to withdraw support to the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-led MPA government headed by Chief Minister Donkupar Roy.

The chief minister, however, tried putting up a brave front. “There is no threat to the government and we would prove our majority in the floor of the house when the assembly meets Monday,” Roy told IANS.

Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh submitted his resignation Wednesday, while two independent legislators, Limison Sangma and Ismail R. Marak, withdrew support March 9, putting the hotchpotch coalition under threat.

All the four lawmakers resigned, apparently unhappy over the functioning of the MPA government and cited lack of development works in their respective constituencies.

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

In the 60 member house, the MPA now has the support of 29 legislators - NCP (15), United Democratic Party (10), and four legislators from smaller regional parties, including one from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and two other independents.

The four legislators after withdrawing support to the MPA went to the Congress camp taking its strength from 27 to 31.

“We are keenly watching the developments and would act soon,” former chief minister and Congress leader D.D. Lapang said.

After the March 2008 assembly elections, Lapang was sworn in as chief minister of a Congress-led coalition government although he resigned ten days later ahead of a scheduled trust vote, having failed to muster majority support.

Meghalaya is known for hop-skip-and-jump politics with legislators switching loyalties often. The state has seen six different governments with varied combinations of political parties, resulting in four chief ministers in a span of five years between 1998 and 2003.

Since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972, there have been just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete a full five-year term.

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