Congress and MPA exude confidence ahead of trial of strength

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Shillong, Mar 18 (UNI) The Congress today exuded confidence to retain the Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) government, even as the combined Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and United Democratic Party-led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) will try to oust the nine-day D D Lapang-led Ministry in the Assembly tomorrow.

''It is too early to comment, but we as politicians are confident to win the trust vote,'' state Parliamentary Affairs Minister and MUA spokesman Dr Roytre Christopher Laloo said.

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

Mr Lapang, however, roped in three Independent MLAs and increased its tally to 28 seats. One seat was still vacant owing to the sudden demise of the Congress candidate from Baghmara constituency.

Election to the Baghmara constituency is scheduled on March 22.

Counting will be held on March 25.

''Let us wait. Within less than 24-hours, you will know who wins and loses. We keep our cards close to our chest,'' he said.

However, Dr Laloo refused to reveal whether the Congress had achieved the required number of 31 seats in the 60-member House.

''Considering the situation, we are keeping our cards close to our chest,'' the MUA spokesman stated.

On the other hand, five non-Congress parties, under the banner of the MPA, reiterated their confidence to dislodge the Congress-led MUA government in the Assembly.

''We are having the strength of 31 MLAs and the MPA is united, committed and firm to oust the Congress government tomorrow,'' MPA's Chief Ministerial candidate Dr Donkupar Roy said.

The MPA comprises the NCP (14), UDP (11), Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (2), two Independents and one each from the BJP and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement.

Dr Roy, also the UDP president, reiterated the the party's commitment to ensure that the MPA government completed its five-year term.

''The Congress approached us (UDP), but I have told Mr Lapang that it is too late as we have already inked an agreement to work with the MPA,'' he revealed.

The UDP had a post-poll alliance with the Congress soon after the 2003 Assembly polls and formed the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).

The Congress government was then supported by the UDP, HSPDP, MDP and KHNAM.

''Our agreement is a gentleman's agreement, we respect our own agreement like we did with the Congress, '' Dr Roy said.

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