Meghalaya opposition alliance to stake claim to form government

March 8th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead)

Shillong, March 8 (IANS) In a dramatic turn of events, five opposition political parties in Meghalaya with 31 legislators formed an alliance Saturday and are set to stake claim to form the next non-Congress government. The parties - United Democratic Party (UDP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM), and two independents - named their grouping the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA).

“We now have the support of 31 legislators in the 60-member house and would stake claim to form the government before governor S.S. Sidhu at 2.30 p.m.,” Donkupar Roy, president of the regional United Democratic Party (UDP), told IANS.

Roy was chosen leader of the MPA at a meeting here earlier Saturday.

In the 60-member legislature, results of which were announced Friday, the Congress emerged as the single largest party winning 25 seats, followed by the NCP with 14. The regional UDP bagged 11 seats, five independents won, besides two from the HSPDP, and one each from the BJP and the KHNAM.

Elections were countermanded in the Baghmara assembly constituency following the death of a candidate. Meanwhile, the Congress Legislature Party meeting Saturday elected former chief minister D.D. Lapang as its leader.

Three independents have already announced their support to the Congress party.

“As the single largest party, the governor should invite us to form the government. The claims of forming the MPA is nothing but a figment of their imagination as we are in negotiation with like minded parties and are sure to form the government,” Lapang told IANS soon after getting elected as the Congress Legislature Party leader.

Congress party sources said negotiations were on with the UDP and independents, besides legislators of the HSPDP and KHNAM.

“There are lots of options available and we are confident of getting six more legislators to form the government,” another Congress leader said.

In the last assembly, the UDP was a partner in the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government. There was, however, no pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the UDP.

Political instability is the hallmark in Meghalaya - 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 the last assembly elections in 2003.

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

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