No-trust move against Meghalaya government admitted

Shillong, Sep 14 (IANS) An opposition-sponsored no-confidence motion against the Mukul Sangma-led Congress government was admitted in the Meghalaya Assembly on Wednesday for its “failure on all fronts”.

Speaker Abu Taher Mondal said the censure motion will to be taken up on Thursday after 12 noon.

On Monday, three opposition legislators — James Sangma of National People’s Party, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party and Jemino Mawthoh of the United Democratic Party — had served notice for moving the no-confidence motion against the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government.

Mondal admitted the no-confidence motion after 14 opposition members — comprising eight United Democratic Party legislators, four Hill State People’s Democratic Party legislators and two National People’s Party legislators — supported the censure move.

Interestingly, two opposition independent legislators Saleng Sangma and John Leslee K. Sangma were conspicuous by their absence.

However, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma termed the no-trust move brought by the opposition as “nothing new” to his government.

“This is not the first time that this government is confronted by such situation. The no-confidence motion against my government is also an indication that we are yet to get out of the symptom inflicted by political instability that the state in the past years has been confronted with,” he told journalists.

However, the Chief Minister said there are many priorities for both the ruling alliance and the opposition to focus upon.

“I leave to the wisdom of the opposition whether it is appropriate for them to take up issues in the House through no-confidence motion,” Sangma said.

When asked if the no-confidence motion sponsored by the opposition was influenced by members from the treasury benches in the backdrop of the rebellion against him, Sangma said: “My job is to ensure that the whole MUA stands united in its response to all issues raised by the opposition. How we do it and how we handle everybody is an internal exercise.”

Asked whether he foresaw that the 11 Independent legislators, who are supporting his government, would cross-vote, Sangma said: “I do not doubt their (Independents) commitment in supporting the government.”

However, Opposition leader Donkupar Roy said the no-confidence motion against the government was inspired by the rebel Congress legislators, who have been up in arms against the Chief Minister.

“If they (rebel Congress legislators) come out openly in support of the motion, I am sure this government is gone,” Roy told IANS.

Admitting that there have been differences within the Congress party, veteran Congress legislator Salseng C. Marak, however, said: “The leadership issue cannot be discussed in the House as it is an internal matter of the Congress party.”

Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee chief D.D. Lapang, who is also a sitting MLA, said the Congress legislature party and MUA legislature party have already issued a three-line whip directing all the members of the ruling coalition to ensure that they stand united against the no-confidence motion and the resolution seeking the removal of Speaker Mondal.

Mondal had set the date for taking up the resolution seeking his removal as September 16.

In the 60-member assembly, the ruling Meghalaya United Alliance comprises 30 Congress members, two from the Nationalist Congress Party and 11 Independents.

The opposition MPF comprises eight United Democratic Party legislators and two from the Nationalist People’s Party.

The opposition Hill State People’s Democratic Party, which has four members, and two Independents are not part of the Meghalaya People’s Front.

–IANS

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