Roy expands ministry, Lanong elected Assembly Speaker

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Shillong, Mar 20 (UNI) Chief Minister Dr Don Kupar Roy today expanded his Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) ministry with the induction of five ministers while United Democratic Party (UDP) member Bindo M Lanong was today elected unopposed as Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

Governor S S Sidhu administered the oath of office and secrecy to two Deputy Chief Ministers -- Hoping Stone Lyngdoh (HSPDP) and Timothy D Shira (NCP), John A Lyngdoh (UDP), Nimarson Momin (UDP) and new entrant E C Boniface Bamon (NCP) as cabinet ministers.

Yesterday, Dr Roy along with six others were sworn in after former Chief Minister D D Lapang resigned as he failed to muster enough support to his ten-day old Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) ministry.

Talking to reporters after the swearing-in, Dr Roy said that the two Deputy Chief Ministers, will be representing the Khasi-Jaintia and Garo Hills. NCP leader Purno A Sangma, who will take over from Dr Roy after two-and-a-half years, will now be appointed as Chairman of State Planning Board.

'' Mr Sangma will offer his valuable political experience to improve the planning board's profile and efficacy,'' Dr Roy said.

As per the MPA agreement, UDP and NCP would share leadership on 50:50 basis, which means Sangma would take over as Chief Minister after two-and-a-half years.

Earlier in the day, the MPA got a shot in the arm with UDP legislator and veteran politician Bindo M Lanong being elected unopposed as the Speaker of the assembly Pro-tem Speaker Hoping Stone Lyngdoh declared Mr Lanong, candidate of United Democratic Party backed Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, elected after main opposition Congress nominee Charles Pyngrope withdrew his nomination yesterday.

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

On the other hand, five non-Congress parties, under the banner of the MPA has 31 legislators.

The MPA combine of NCP (14), UDP (11), Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (2), one each from the BJP and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement and two Independent MLAs, have a total strength of 31 in the 60-member Assembly.

UNI RRK KK AB 1648

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