DD Lapang and Manik Sarkar govts sworn-in in Meghalaya and Tripura

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Shillong/Agartala, Mar 10(UNI) The Congress, led by Mr D D Lapang, was today sworn in as Meghalaya Chief Minister while Mr Manik Sarkar, heading a 12-member ministry, took the oath of office and secrecy to form the sixth Left Front government in the state.

Governor S S Sidhu and Governor D N Sahay administered the oath of office and secrecy to the new members in Meghalaya and Tripura respectively.

Soon after taking oath, Mr Lapang today iterated that the Congress is capable of forming a stable government and he would prove his majority on the floor of the House within ten days.

The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party with 25 seats, has fallen short by six seats to cross the majority threshold.

The Governor justifying his stand said, ''I have invited the Congress to form the government on the basis of being the single largest party. The present MPA did not have any pre-poll alliance.'' Meanwhile, the MPA has termed the governor's invitation to Mr Lapang as a ''murder of democracy'' for ignoring the constitutional provisions, despite the MPA having 31 MLAs in the 60-member House.

The MPA is a conglomerate of the Nationalist Congress Party (14), United Democratic Party (11), Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (2), two Independents and one each from the BJP and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement.

''We (MPA) have decided to file a writ petition in the Supreme Court against the Governor's unethical decision,'' former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP MLA, P A Sangma told reporters here.

The Alliance has appointed former Solicitor General of India Soli Sorabji to argue on their behalf in the apex court.

Earlier, in the day, the MPA paraded 30 of its 31 MLAs before the Governor and staked claim to form the new government.

MPA leader Donkupar Roy said even if the Supreme Court ruled against them, Mr Lapang would be defeated on the floor of the House when he tested his claim of enjoying a majority.

Other partners in MPA--KHNAM and HSPDP--reiterated that they were with the MPA despite rumours that they had switched over to the Lapang camp.

In Tripura the Chief Minister soon after taking oath allocated portfolios among his cabinet colleagues.

There are three new faces, including a woman, in the new ministry.

They are Md Sahid Choudhury, Jaygobinda Debroy (RSP) and Bijita Nath while the other members are Anil Sarkar, Aghore Debbarma, Badal Choudhury, Tapan Chakraborty, Manik Dey, Jitendra Choudhury, Khagendra Jamatia and Manindra Reang of CPI.

The party has,however, excluded the winners of the just concluded election to the Tripura Assembly and sitting ministers Keshab Majumdar and veteran communist leader of minority community Fayzur Rahaman along with young tribal leader Pranab Debbarma.

Three other prospective candidates of the party former minister Pabitra Kar from Khyerpur on the outskirts of Agartala, veteran Marxist and fourth time winner from Khowai in West Tripura Samir Deb Sarkar and veteran tribal leader and former minister Niranjan Debbarma also did not get entry into the ministry.

Except, Mr Keshab Majumdar all others attended the swearing-in ceremony.

CPI(M)-led Left Front registered an emphatic victory for the fourth consecutive term, winning 49 seats in the 60-member legislature and routing the main opposition Congress, which secured only 10 seats while its poll partner Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) bagged only one seat.

The Left Front has been in power in Tripura since 1978, barring one term (1988-1993).

UNI Team KK DB2144

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