Apex court hears writ petition against Guv

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Shillong, Mar 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court today heard the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (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.

'' Today, Chief Justice of Supreme Court K G Balakrishnan heard the arguments of lawyers of both sides and the hearing remained inconclusive,'' NCP MLA PA Sangma told UNI here.

The judge is expected to declare his verdict tomorrow, he added.

Mr Sangma said he is confident that the Chief Justice will dismiss the Congress government, led by Mr D D Lapang, to pave way for the MPA to form the new government.

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

The MPA yesterday termed the Governor's invitation to Chief Minister D D Lapang to form the new government as a 'murder of democracy' for 'ignoring' 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 said.

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 are in touch with his party.

Even NCP leader Sharad Pawar wanted his party to 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 Pawar wanted the Congress to rule Meghalaya again.

'' Nothing doing. Nothing will shake our (MPA) unity. I have not received any communication from Sharad 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.

UNI RRK KK/src2022

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