Meghalaya Governor consults experts on formation of new government

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Shillong, Mar 8 (UNI) Meghalaya Governor S S Sidhu today said he was yet to decide on whether to invite the Congress or the NCP-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) to form the new government in the state.

''I have not decided on the issue yet. I will take the decision for political stability and will discourage horse trading, '' Mr Sidhu told reporters at Raj Bhawan.

The Governor also said the Congress and other political parties under the banner of the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance had staked claim for the formation of the new government.

''Both sides have staked claim and there are Independents (MLAs) on both sides. I have to consult constitutional and legal experts before inviting any of them, '' the Governor reiterated.

Earlier, in the day, outgoing Chief Minister D D Lapang, soon after unanimously elected the Congress Legislature Party leader, called on the Governor and staked claim to form the Congress Government in the state.

''We (Congress) have met the Governor and staked claim to form the new government in the state and we will prove our majority on the floor of the House, '' Mr Lapang told reporters at the Raj Bhawan.

Out of the 59 Assembly seats, elections to which were held on March three, the Congress secured 25.

Election to the Baghmara seat was countermanded following the death of a Congress candidate.

The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party, has fallen short by just six seats to cross the majority threshold in the 60-member House.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) secured 14 seats, the United Democratic Party (UDP) 11, Independents five, while the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) won two and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) one each.

''I am sure that the Congress will retain its government in Meghalaya. We are on the process of seeking friends which I will not divulge this now to you,'' Mr Lapang averred.

In the last Assembly, four regional parties were partners in the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Government. There was, however, no pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the regional parties.

Hours after the Congress leader staked claim, newly-elected Legislators of the NCP, UDP, HSPDP, BJP, KHNAM and three Independent MLAs drove to the Raj Bhawan, staking their claims.

The MPA emerged as a major contender after the NCP, which earlier projected former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma as its Chief Ministerial candidate, proposed the name of Dr Donkupar Roy as the leader of the new alliance.

''We have submitted our letter to the Governor and expect him (Governor) to invite us to lead the government in the state, '' Dr Roy told UNI here.

Dr Roy, Deputy Chief Minister in the outgoing Congress-led MDA Government, claimed that the MPA was confident of forming the next government, which would work through a common minimum programme.

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