Shillong, April 3: Another United Democratic Party legislator, Nimarson Momin, resigned from the Assembly today and shifted allegiance to the Congress, just two days after Ampareen Lyngdoh resigned from the legislature and the party on Wednesday.
Momins resignation comes a day after Meghalaya Governor R.S. Mooshahary recommended the withdrawal of Presidents rule to facilitate the formation of a Congress-led government in the state.
Momins decision took the UDP and the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance, of which the party is a major partner, by surprise as he had attended the partys meeting at the residence of UDP president Donkupar Roy last night.
In a letter addressed to Speaker Bindo Lanong, Momin said he was compelled to resign because of the prevailing political situation.
The Speaker, who is a senior UDP leader, termed the resignations of the two legislators a great betrayal. He also said their letters of resignation were identical, indicating that this could be the handiwork of the Congress.
CLP leader D.D. Lapang indicated that Lyngdoh and Momin were welcome to join the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance. He said if the duo were accommodated in the MUA ministry, they could be ministers for six months (till they contest and win byelections).
Lapang is already counting on the support of 33 legislators, including Lyngdoh and Momin. However, the duo will not have voting rights if there is a trial of strength in the Assembly. The other supporters include 26 Congress MLAs, one Independent, and the four legislators who had deserted the NCP-UDP-led MPA Independents Limison Sangma and Ismail Marak, Paul Lyngdoh of the KHNAM and Sanbor Shullai of the NCP.
Indications are that the governor will swear in Lapang as the chief minister and a few legislators as ministers, giving the Congress-led alliance enough time to prove its majority in the House.
With the political situation favouring the MUA, AICC general secretary in charge of Northeast Luizinho Feleiro met the governor to speed up the formation of a new government. He said since Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was abroad, the next seniormost minister and his cabinet colleagues could take the decision.
Not surprisingly, the MPA is crying foul. Sources close to the MPA said all the 27 legislators of the alliance had been summoned to Shillong to discuss the strong possibility of their resignation en bloc in case an illegitimate Congress ministry was installed in the state. In the event of such a decision, the House would be dissolved, paving the way for a mid-term poll, they added.
Earlier in the day, former chief minister Donkupar Roy sent a letter to the President, highlighting the alleged partisan attitude of the governor.
MPA secretary Conrad Sangma wondered how the Congress, which had lost majority twice since the Assembly elections last year, could form the government again. He also pointed out that disqualification procedures were pending against the four MPA deserters.
The Speaker told The Telegraph that he would go ahead with his disqualification procedures against the four legislators. He said he would personally hear their complaints and take a final decision only after giving a them a fair chance to defend their cases.