12 May : Senior Congress leader D D Lapang will be sworn in on Wednesday as chief minister of Meghalaya with the party stitching an alliance with regional outfit UDP following failure of talks with NCP. Congress leader D D Lapang, who arrived at Shillong from New Delhi on Tuesday morning called on Governor R S Mooshary and enclosed a letter of support from the UDP and Independent MLA Donkupar Massar, taking the tally of the alliance to 37 members in the 60 member house.
With the addition of UDP to its fold, the Meghalaya United Alliance (led by Congress) has got the majority for formation and continuation of a viable government, Lapang said in a letter to the Governor.
"We have signed an agreement before the Governor pledging our support to the Congress. The new government will be sworn in tomorrow. We have been given two berths in the cabinet," UDP president and former chief minister Donkupar Roy told reporters, accepting Lapang as the leader of the alliance.
Lapang arrived along with AICC secretary Luizinho Faleiro and Pradesh Congress president Friday Lyngdoh who were present before the Governor when UDP leader Donkupar Roy and J D Rymbai signed the agreement.
As per the agreement the UDP will get a deputy chief ministership and a cabinet berth.
There was no official word from the Congress, but party insiders said "unreasonable demands" by the NCP like five berths and opposition from a good chunk of state Congress members prompted the party to align with the UDP.
The state Congress leaders feared the party’s support in several parts of the state, particularly in the Garo hills, would be at stake if it tied up with the NCP which has a stronghold in those areas.
The Congress had over last week held a series of parleys with the NCP, but the talks reportedly failed after the Congress refused to concede to the demands of the NCP, Congress sources said.
The UDP was perceived as the next alternate as it had already offered unconditional support to the party after the NCP, led by P A Sangma, ditched the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance and began parleys with the Congress.
The UDP was a part of the previous Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government, which was removed from power and President’s Rule imposed on the Governor’s recommendation following a controversial trust vote, which the MPA had survived.
The Union Cabinet had recommended revocation of President’s Rule last Friday.
The Congress has 26 members in the Assembly, besides an Independent legislator’s support, while the UDP has nine MLAs.
The effective strength of the House has been reduced to 55 from 60 following the resignation of one UDP MLA and disqualification of four others.