Shillong, March 11: A day before his ministry was to turn full-fledged, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma today won a confidence motion in the Assembly, drawing criticism from the Opposition benches.
Sangma’s 11 ministers will be sworn-in tomorrow at Raj Bhavan, but the confidence in his ministry was expressed by the House today.
After the House was called to order by pro tem Speaker Rowell Lyngdoh, and before Meghalaya PCC president D.D. Lapang could table the motion, Garo National Council (GNC) legislator Clifford R. Marak stood up to point out that the chief minister alone cannot be called a “ministry”.
The motion read: “That, this House expresses its confidence in the present ministry headed by Dr Mukul Sangma, chief minister.”
“The chief minister has not constituted the council of ministers and they are yet to be sworn-in. The chief minister alone cannot be called the present ministry. How can the chief minister alone run the government?” Marak questioned.
Supporting Marak, UDP leader Donkupar Roy said it may set a precedent if the vote of confidence was taken up with only the chief minister having been sworn-in and not his entire council of ministers. He also said that in the past, the motion of confidence was tabled only after the entire council of ministers were sworn-in.
Roy, therefore, urged the mover of the motion (Lapang) to rephrase the sentence.
Replying to the points raised, Sangma said the government is constituted once the chief minister is sworn in. “He (chief minister) represents the council of ministers. The government has been formed and that is why we would like to seek the confidence of the House,” Sangma said.
The pro tem Speaker allowed Lapang to place the motion, which was adopted by a voice vote. “The ayes have it”, and the ayes had it, and the motion was carried.
Speaking to reporters, Sangma said apart from the 29 Congress legislators, the treasury benches have also received letters of support from 12 Independents and two NCP legislators.
The swearing-in ceremony of 11 ministers — Rowell Lyngdoh, R.C. Laloo, H.D.R. Lyngdoh, Prestone Tynsong, A.L. Hek, Zenith M. Sangma, Clement Marak, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Roshan Warjri, Deborah C. Marak and M. Ampareen Lyngdoh — will take place at 11.30am at Raj Bhavan tomorrow.
Rowell Lyngdoh and Laloo will become Sangma’s deputies in the ministry to be known as the Meghalaya United Alliance II.
When pointed out that Ri Bhoi district has got no representation in the ministry, Sangma said: “If you are looking district wise, then you will come to this conclusion. But every minister and member of the council is supposed to represent the state.”
On the position to be occupied by Lapang, the chief minister said he would be made chairman of the state-level monitoring committee to supervise and scrutinise various development programmes.
Former chief minister Salseng C. Marak will be made chairman of the State Planning Board.