Sushanta Talukdar

Casting vote comes after a 27:27 tie in 60-member House

Guwahati: The nearly one-year-old Donkupar Roy-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government survived a crucial trust vote on Tuesday with Speaker Bindo M. Lanong casting his vote in favour of the government after a 27:27 tie in the 60-member House during division.

Four of the five legislators, who were suspended by the Speaker on Monday night, also cast their vote. However, the Speaker announced that their votes were invalid owing to their suspension.

After the division resulted in a tie, the Speaker said he would cast his vote in favour of the ruling party in accordance with the prevailing parliamentary practice. As soon as the Speaker announced that the motion of vote of confidence was passed with 28-27 votes, the Opposition Congress members accused the Speaker of being “biased, prejudiced and unethical.”

The Congress and other Opposition legislators, led by the Leader of the Opposition and former Chief Minister, D.D. Lapang, later went to the Raj Bhavan to call on Governor Ranjit Sekhar Mooshahary and lodge a complaint on the conduct of the trust vote by the Speaker.

The Congress leaders later told journalists that they would take recourse to both legal and constitutional measures against the Speaker’s “illegal and unconstitutional” action.

The five members, who were suspended by the Speaker by an interim order for violating the provisions of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, included Deputy Speaker and legislator of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Sanbor Shullai; lone legislator of the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) Paul Lyngdoh, who had quit as the Urban Affairs Minister and from MPA; Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) member Advisor Pariong, who had quit as the Health Minister; and independents Ismail R. Marak and Limison D. Sangma. Dr. Pariong was not present in the House during the trust vote.

The Speaker suspended the five on Monday night “with immediate effect till the passing of the final order on the petitions filed [by MLAs and political parties forming the MPA] under the Tenth Schedule.”

The Nationalist Congress Party-led MPA government plunged into a political crisis on March 9 following a resignation drama sparked by withdrawal of support by Mr. Marak and Mr. Sangma.

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