New Meghalaya govt. to be sworn in today

Sushanta Talukdar

Guwahati: In a dramatic turn of events, the Congress in Meghalaya shelved parleys with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) on forming a government and struck a deal with the United Democratic Party (UDP), instead, to form a new coalition government.

The senior Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister, Mukul Sangma, told The Hindu that a new Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government would be sworn in at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Dr. Sangma said Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader D.D. Lapang was appointed Chief Minister-designate, while the UDP will get two berths in the Ministry, including the post of Deputy Chief Minister.

Dr. Lapang, along with UDP leaders, on Tuesday called on Governor Ranjit Sekhar Mooshahary to formally stake claim to form a government, and the Governor invited him to do so.

Meghalaya was brought under President’s rule on March 19, two days after the NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government, in which the UDP had the post of Chief Minister, survived a trust vote with the Speaker’s vote following a 27:27 tie. The trust vote was sought by the MPA government in the aftermath of a resignation drama sparked off by two independent legislators followed by two Ministers.

Efforts to form a Congress-NCP government gained momentum after the Union Cabinet on May 8 decided to endorse a recommendation by the Governor to revoke Central rule.

Confirming the developments, the former Chief Minister and senior UDP leader, Donkupar Roy, said his party decided to quit the MPA and pledge support to the Congress for the formation of a new coalition government for stability. Mr. Roy said Meghalaya speaker Bindo M. Lanong would be the Deputy Chief Minister in the D.D. Lapang-led Ministry.

The former Chief Minister also held the former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP general secretary Purno Agitok Sangma responsible for the break-up in the MPA. He alleged that Mr. Sangma had initiated a dialogue with the Congress on the formation of a new government without consulting the UDP and other MPA partners. “He [Mr. Sangma and his party] betrayed us. We did not expect it from a leader of Mr. Sangma’s stature,” Mr. Roy added.

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