Mukul Sangma govt wins no-confidence motion

Shillong: The Congress-led Mukul Sangma government in Meghalaya on Wednesday won by 43-13 after a no-confidence motion was moved by Opposition NCP amidst a high drama on the fourth day of the autumn session.

During the trust vote, NCP faced an embarrassment when one of its MLA's deputy speaker Shanbor Shullai abstained.

Another NCP MLA Adolf L H Marak did not turn up for the proceedings, bringing down the strength of the Opposition from 15 to 14 in the 60-member House.

Independent MLA Manas Choudhury abstained from voting.

Despite the NCP insisting that the trust vote be carried out through secret ballot, Speaker Charles Pyngrope, in a departure from normal trend, decided to conduct the voting through division (head count) and not through voice vote.

Members from both the benches including Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, Opposition Leader Conrad Sangma, former CMs P A Sangma, D D Lapang, Donkupar Roy, deputy CMs B M Lanong, R Lyngdoh and several others voiced counter arguments on the mode of conducting the vote on the no-confidence motion, before the Speaker's ruling.

All the ruling alliance partners - 27 Congress MLAs, nine from United Democratic Party (UDP), two from Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), one from Khyun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and four independents - voted in favour of the government.

Significant was the vocal support for the chief minister coming from some of his known detractors within the Congress party despite the NCP trying hard to drive a political wedge.

Tabling the no-confidence motion on Monday, the Leader of Opposition Conrad K Sangma had said the purpose of the motion was not to topple the government, but to highlight failures of the state government.

Earlier today, initiating the motion, Conrad Sangma contended that the government under Mukul Sangma had "failed in all fronts", especially law and order in the Garo hills and in maintaining the state's fiscal health.

The chief minister later denied all the allegations and said he has once again demonstrated that he enjoyed full support of the house to continue in his coveted chair.

While on the law and order front he claimed that the state was by and large peaceful except for some stray incidents of violence, on the financial health he said the parameters were being maintained at the prescribed level.