Independent MLAs likely to strengthen MPA government

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Shillong, Jun 5 (UNI) The three-month-old Meghalaya Progressive Alliance(MPA) government is trying to strengthen its position by poaching three Independent legislators from the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA).

The MPA has the support of 32 legislators--15 NCP, 11 UDP, two HSPDP, one each from KHNAM and BJP and two Independents--in the 60-member House, while the MUA has 28 MLAs with the support of three Independents--Ismail R Marak, Limison Sangma and A T Mondal.

MPA sources claimed that senior MPA leaders had approached Independent Ismail R Marak, even as he expressed his willingness to join the MPA and strengthen the UDP-led government.

''I will first go to my constituency and consult my supporters and decide accordingly,'' Mr Marak told UNI here today.

Limison Sangma, however, ruled out joining the MPA government. He said, ''I am not leaving the MUA camp to join the MPA government.'' The MPA enjoys majority in a 60-member Assembly. However, MPA Deputy Speaker candidate Sanbor Shullai of the NCP managed to get just 28 votes to Congress candidate Lakhem Rymbui's 27 votes. Four votes were found invalid.

The unexpected result of the Deputy Speaker's election had sent the coalition government into a tizzy, even as senior Congress leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Dr Mukul M Sangma claimed that the Donkupar Roy-led ministry will collapse within two months.

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