Cong provides stable govt in Meghalaya: Ind MLAs

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Shillong, Mar 12 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang and his newly formed Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government are all set to prove his majority in the Assembly next week.

Mr Lapang and his party workers have already got the support of three Independent MLAs and are trying to woo more members of the regional parties - United Democratic Party, Hill State People's Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement- to join the ministry.

''Negotiations are on with our like-minded friends. We are going to get our majority,'' Mr Lapang told UNI at the Raj Bhawan.

Last night, the newly formed MUA had entrusted the Chief Minister with the task of negotiating with regional parties ahead of the floor test in the Assembly due next week.

Mr Lapang, however, when asked, said that he is ready to step down if the Supreme Court passed a judgment, favouring the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, which filed a writ petition against Governor S S Sidhu for inviting the Congress to form the new government, despite the MPA having 31 MLAs in the 60-member House.

The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party with 25 seats, had fallen short by six seats to cross the majority threshold. The Congress, however, managed to rope in three Independent MLAs from Garo Hills to increase its tally to 28 seats, and needed three more to get the magical figure of 31.

Election to the Baghmara constituency is scheduled on March 22 following the death of Congress candidate on February 16. The counting will be held on March 25.

However, Mr Lapang is having the support of three Independent MLA, who have owed allegiance to the Congress.

''Come what may come, we have decided to support the Congress be it in the ruling or Opposition,'' Independent MLA AT Mondal told UNI after being sworn in as Cabinet minister in the Lapang-led ministry.

Like him, the two other Independent MLAs - Ismail R Marak and Limison A Sangma - said they supported the Congress to ensure political stability in the state.

''It is only the Congress that can provide stability to the state,'' the two Independent Garo legislators said.

Of the 73 Independent candidates contested in the just concluded Assembly polls, the electorates elected only five Independent MLAs.

The two others have supported the non-Congress parties under the banner of MPA.

UNI RRK PP DS HT1545

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