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Cong ditches NCP, to form Govt with UDP in Meghalaya

Cong ditches NCP, to form Govt with UDP in Meghalaya

Author: Sanat K Chakraborty
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 13, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/175861/Cong-ditches-NCP-to-form-Govt-with-UDP-in-Meghalaya.html

A new coalition Government led by senior Congress leader DD Lapang will be sworn in on Wednesday in Meghalaya, ending months of political uncertainty in the State.

However, the NCP, which was considered to be its first partner in the new Government, was elbowed out at the last moment after its ally in the previous MPA Government, United Democratic Party (UDP), offered its unconditional support to the new coalition.
The Congress on Tuesday cobbled up a new coalition with the support of the UDP, after days of hard bargains with the NCP in New Delhi failed to make any progress.

Lapang, accompanied by AICC secretary in-charge of Meghaya L Felerio and UDP leader and former Chief Minister Donkupar Roy, met Governor RS Mooshahary this morning and handed over a list of 37 members in support of the new coalition.

Governor Mooshahary accepted the claim and invited the Congress to form the next Government by Wednesday. He, of course, asked the leader to prove its majority in the House within 15 days.

In the House of 60 - currently 55 after four legislators were disqualified and one resigned from the Assembly - the new Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) comprises of 26 Congress, nine UDP and two Independents.

Following the Central Cabinet's recommendation for withdrawal of the President's rule last Friday, it was almost certain that Cong-NCP would form the next coalition, the third Government in 14 months in Meghalaya.

As per the understanding, it was agreed that Lapang would be the Chief Minister and Conrad K Sangma, son of NCP leader PA Sangma, would be made his deputy.

But all of a sudden the deal with the NCP was dropped and UDP was taken in onboard. As per the new deal, senior UDP leader and former Speaker Bindo Lanong would be the Deputy Chief Minister, said a UDP spokesperson.

Meanwhile, NCP secretary Conrad K Sangma described the Congress decision as "its own choice", adding that he was unaware about the developments in Shillong, as the negotiations between the top leadership of the NCP and Congress were still going on.

He also declined to comment on why did the deal fall through, saying that negotiations were on at the highest level between the two parties, and he had no knowledge of what had eventually happened.

The President's rule was imposed on Meghalaya March 19 soon after the NCP-backed Donkupar Roy Government won a controversial trust vote with the help of the Speaker's casting vote following a 27:27 tie in a division.

Governor felt that under the prevailing circumstances, the MPA Government would not be able to provide stability in the State and thus recommended for the President's rule, putting the Assembly under suspended animation.

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