SHILLONG: Political uncertainty continued in the State on Sunday, with Governor SS Sidhu yet to make up his mind on inviting either Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) or Congress for forming the government, although the former has already claimed support of 31 legislators.
According to sources, Advocate General of Meghalaya Anil Sharma has advised the Governor that any group having the required majority should be invited to form the government and not necessarily the single largest party. Mr Sharma is also learnt to have told the Governor that a group which could muster the requisite strength should be invited to form the government.
Meanwhile, 30 legislators belonging to MPA will meet the Governor on Monday to show their strength and impress upon him to invite the Alliance to form the government.
Former Chief Minister EK Mawlong of UDP who is unwell would not be part of the delegation. His letter of support to MPA will be handed over to the Governor during the meeting.
Earlier, NCP leader Purno A Sangma expressed fears that if the Governor delayed in inviting MPA to form the government, it would encourage horse-trading in the State, adding MPA which had the majority of MLAs, had every right to be given a chance to form the government and not necessarily the single largest party.
At present Congress has 25 legislators but three Independent legislators from Garo Hills – Ismail Marak, Abu Taher Mondal and Limison Marak – have extended support to the Congress camp. All the three are reportedly close to Congress leader Mukul Sangma.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Meghalaya Margaret Alva will arrive in the city on Monday to hold closed door meetings with DD Lapang and all party legislators and chalk out strategies on mustering support from other parties to form a Congress-led government.
Congress sources, however, informed that the party was likely to meet the Governor on Monday over government formation with its present strength of 28 legislators and seek to prove its majority on the floor of the Assembly within ten days.
The sources further asserted a few other legislators from other parties had kept in touch with Congress and they may switch over to the Congress camp as soon as a Congress-led government was installed.
Observers say that the Governor will have to take a non-partisan decision based on the rival strength as is evident to him and as per advice of the Advocate General.
MPA partners scotch rumour
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: Political circles were rife with rumours and speculations. Rumours are doing the rounds that smaller parties like KHNAM, HSPDP and BJP are likely to leave newly-floated Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) and support Congress to form the new government.
Though Congress is still short of the required number of 31 legislators for government formation, there were rumours that smaller parties who were part of the non-Congress alliance have been won over by Congress in its last-ditch effort to form a coalition government.
Another source said Congress had approached lone KHNAM legislator Paul Lyngdoh and offered him the ministerial post of Industry portfolio. Mr Lyngdoh, however, was learnt not to have given any assurance to Congress.
Speaking to The Shillong Times here on Sunday, Mr Lyngdoh denied rumours that he was likely to leave MPA to join a Congress-led alliance. “There is no truth at all in such rumours. I am not such kind of person who will switch sides within two days after formation of MPA,” he said.
Similarly, lone BJP legislator AL Hek said he would continue to stick to MPA, adding the ideology of his party was to maintain political distance from Congress. He also said he had provided unconditional support to MPA.
ANLF chief, aide lynched
From Our Correspondent
TURA: Achik National Liberation Front (ANLF) ‘commander-in-chief’ Nobin Marak, popularly known as “Scorpion”, and another member of the outfit were lynched by an angry mob for trying to extort money at Cheran village near Songsak village in East Garo Hills on Sunday.
The other ANLF cadre who was killed in the incident is yet to be identified.
Nobin, who hailed from Daram village near Resulbelpara, formed ANLF after leaving the ANVC Samanda camp along with eight others in April 2005.
In March 3 2006, during a police operation in Daram village areas, three ANLF activists were killed and two others were arrested. In the encounter, top ANLF leader Robi Marak was also killed.
In September last year, police laid an ambush in Tapa Darechekgre near Resubelpara after getting information that Nobin would be travelling on a scooter or a bike.
During vehicle checking, one of the Army officers, who stopped a Tata Mobile in which Nobin was travelling in, was seriously injured after being fired upon by the militant.
The ANLF leader also snatched the AK-47 rifle of the Army officer and fled away from the scene.
Further, in November last year, Robin was injured when police opened fire at him at Ronrong village near Bajengdoba.
In that incident, the ANLF leader left behind his AK-47 but managed to flee from the scene.
Governor should not encourage horse trading: Purno
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: NCP general secretary Purno Agitok Sangma is of the opinion that if the Governor invites Congress with 25 legislators to form the government it would amount to encouraging horse trading.
Mr Sangma pointed out that MPA with 31 legislators should be invited to form the government to prevent the possibility of horse trading.
“If money is with Congress then blessing of God is with us and this blessing would ultimately lead to our victory,” Mr Sangma said while talking to reporters here on Sunday.
Reacting to a query what is the common thing among the alliance partners against Congress, the NCP leader said despite political differences, the common feature of the alliance partners was that everyone was opposed to the non-performance of Congress in the last 25 years.
“In my 90 days of election campaign in every corner of the State and going by the response of the people it seems majority of them want to see a change for the betterment of the State. However, it was the temptation to the Congress money that has overtaken this spirit,” Mr Sangma said.
He said in MPA’s Common Minimum Programme (CMP) special emphasis would be made on development of the agricultural sector, adding, “We are committed to giving a minimum support price on important agricultural products like broom sticks, oranges, pine apples and others.”
Lapang becomes target of blame game in CLP
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG: As the prospect of losing power stares in the Congress face, blame game has started in the CLP.
Despite emerging as the single largest party, many Congress legislators have expressed their discontent over the inability of the newly-elected CLP leader DD Lapang to convince UDP and other regional parties to come over in support of the party to form the government.
Party sources on Sunday said with time fast running out and the threat of the Governor calling MPA to form the government, many Congress legislators felt that Mr Lapang should have contacted the regional parties in advance to ensure their support.
Party sources, however, informed that all the regional parties, including UDP, were in favour of having an alliance with Congress, adding they had even contacted Mr Lapang who did not take it seriously as he was still hoping that the party would get a clear majority.
In the CLP meeting on Saturday, the Congress legislators had even wondered whether Mr Lapang should have again been elected as the CLP leader.
One of the Congress MLAs on condition of anonymity told The Shillong Times that majority of the regional parties were not happy with Mr Lapang, adding there was discussion on election of a new CLP leader who was acceptable to the regional parties and the name of Dr Mukul Sangma was even proposed.
The MLA also said there was a consensus among the newly-elected legislators to re-elect Mr Lapang.
As the members of Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) are intact, the Congress camp has entrusted Mukul Sangma with the task of keeping the three Independent legislators together.
Meanwhile, MPA had a get-together on Sunday evening to pledge the support of all the 31 members.
The MPA will meet the Governor on Monday morning along with all the 30 legislators (except EK Mawlong who is ailing) to provide clinching evidence of their strength.
Meanwhile, KSU has welcomed this initiative to form a non-Congress government.
Talking to The Shillong Times, KSU general secretary Hamlet Dohling said Congress had miserably failed in the last five years, adding there were more controversies rather than development.
“We hope that he newly-formed Alliance would be able to form a government that is transparent, efficient and accountable,” Mr Dohling said.
However, he pointed out that the Alliance needed to come out with their programmes and policies so that the people would not be in the dark.
By Our Reporter
Shillong: The Mahila Morcha of BJP in Meghalaya along with the rest of the world observed the International Women’s Day on March 8.
Speakers comprising Kharsimon Phanbuh, Mira Dkhar, while addressing the function laid stress on the importance of empowerment of women. BJP in-charge North East Chandra Shekhar emphasised on 33 per cent reservation for women in local bodies. He also insisted on the Mahila Morcha to take active part in educating the ‘meaning of transparency and accountability in the society’.
Four poachers arrested
By Our Reporter
Shillong: Four poachers were arrested while they were entering Nongkhyllem sanctuary from the western part of the sanctuary beside the Umtrew River.
An official statement issued here said the poachers, who hailed from from Umthlong village (Laitarted), under Mairang Police Station, were arrested by forest guards at 4:30 pm on Saturday. They were identified as Kreit Khyllai, Headbor Nongrang, E Thangkhiew and Kedro Dohtdong.
Three SBBL guns, live 12 bore cartridges, empty cartridges, a khukri, hand axe, knife, torch lamps were seized from their possession among other items.