Meghalaya speaker suspends five MLAs ahead of floor test

March 17th, 2009 - 1:38 am ICT by IANS  

Shillong, March 17 (IANS) The spectre of President’s rule loomed large over Meghalaya after assembly Speaker Bindo Lanong near midnight Monday issued “interim suspension” orders on five legislators for withdrawing support to the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government ahead of Tuesday’s trial of strength in the house.
“The five legislators - former ministers Advisor Pariong and Paul Lyngdoh, deputy speaker Sanbar Shullai, and two independent MLAs Ismail Marak and Limison Sangma - have been barred from entering the house until further orders,” the speaker said in a ruling late Monday.

The decision comes less than 12 hours before the MPA government faces a crucial floor test following withdrawal of support by the five legislators. The trial of strength is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The MPA’s strength has gone down to 28 in the 60-member legislature following switching of loyalties by the five MLAs. The opposition Congress now has the support of 27 legislators.

Earlier, the Congress was claiming the support of 32 legislators, including the five MLAs whose entry to the house is now barred.

There is speculation that the governor might recommend imposition of President’s rule in Meghalaya considering the speaker’s decision.

“It is very unlikely that the Congress would take part in the floor test and would instead approach the court challenging the speaker’s decision,” a senior Congress party leader said requesting not to be named.

“We hope the only alternative at this juncture is imposition of central rule until the court decides on our plea.”

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