Sangma hopeful of apex court's ruling in MPA's favour

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Shillong, Mar 11 (UNI) NCP leader P A Sangma today said he was confident that the Supreme Court would dismiss the D D Lapang-led Congress government in Meghalaya, paving the way for the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) to form the new government in the state.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today heard the MPA's case filed against Governor S S Sidhu for inviting a minority party (Congress) to form the government in the state, despite the MPA having majority of 31 legislators out of 59.

''Chief Justice Balakrishnan heard the arguments of lawyers of both sides and fixed the matter for hearing tomorrow,'' Mr Sangma told UNI here.

Former Attorney General of India Soli Sorabjee and BJP MP Arun Jaitley presented the arguments on behalf of the MPA, while the Congress has engaged five lawyers, including Abhishek Singhvi, to argue the case.

The MPA yesterday termed the Governor's invitation to Mr Lapang to form the new government ''murder of democracy'' saying the move ''ignored'' the Constitutional provisions despite the party having 31 MLAs in the 60-member House.

MPA is a conglomeration 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.

Quoting the Supreme Court ruling of 2006 and the Sarkaria Commission report, Mr Sangma said the Governor should have invited the MPA to form the government.

''By inviting the single largest party to form the government, the Governor has violated the normal procedure,'' he added.

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

Meanwhile, Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee President O L Nongtdu claimed that regional parties were in touch with his party.

''Even NCP leader Sharad Pawar wants that his party support the Congress in the state,'' he added.

''We can prove our majority, even tomorrow, if required,'' Mr Nongtdu said.

Mr Sangma, however, denied that neither regional parties nor Mr Pawar wanted the Congress to rule Meghalaya again.

''Nothing will shake our (MPA) unity. I have not received any communication from Mr Pawar to have any alliance with the Congress,'' the former Lok Sabha Speaker said.

Meanwhile, several NGOs - Khasi Students Union, Garo Students Union and Hynniewtrep National Youth Front- protested the Governor's decision to administer the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Lapang as the Chief Minister.

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