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Congress seeks disqualification of turncoat MLAs

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Shillong, Nov 29: The Congress on Monday filed a petition before the Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh seeking disqualification of its 12 MLAs, who recently defected and merged with the All India Trinamool Congress (AITC).

The petition submitted by the newly elected Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Ampareen Lyngdoh urged the Speaker to take up procedural measures as mandated under Rule 7 of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly (Disqualification on Ground of Defection) Rules, 1988 and to declare the 12 MLAs to have suffered disqualification under the Tenth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

Ampareen was also accompanied by the Congress chief and Shillong MP Vincent H Pala, two MLAs – Mohendro Rapsang and Process T Sawkmie, former KHADC chief PN Syiem and senior advocate of the Meghalaya High Court VGK Kynta.

The Congress had suffered a big jolt after twelve MLAs led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma split and joined the AITC last week. However, the Speaker is yet to give his ruling on the letter of merger submitted by the former Congress legislators.

After meeting the Speaker for his intervention, Ampareen Lyngdoh told reporters that no political party should allow this kind of an exodus that in its sense discredit the political structure of the state.

She asserted that the merger needs to be evaluated before it is accepted “because we still see no parent body for them (12 MLAs) to merge with”.

“We are challenging this so-called merger of 12 Congress MLAs with the Trinamool. How can this be allowed, that is the first question that we are asking the Speaker to consider,” Ampareen said.

Stating that there are many aspects of the 10th Schedule which need to be taken into consideration before this merger is actually permitted, the CLP leader said, “(This is because) we fail to see the presence of the Trinamool Congress…in operation in the state of Meghalaya.”

She added, “We don’t know who is the president, who their members are, we don’t know where their office is, we don’t know whether they have an address, if any communication is to be given to this group.”

Ampareen further questioned if the 12 MLAs have resigned from the Congress before merging with AITC.

“…Have they given us their resignation letters, have they place on record any point of contention, was there any anger, was there any feeling of having not heard, is there any written agenda that they hold, that makes them want to take this extreme step of working behind our backs and betraying us – this is something we are taking note of. We hope that we will be given an opportunity through our legal team to question the loyalty of these individuals. When you question loyalty you automatically calculate and know that if they are not loyal today they will never be loyal ever,” she stated.

She said the party has also requested the Speaker to again look at this whole question of less than two-third under paragraph 4 of the 10th Schedule of the Constitution of India adding that the party’s legal team will also be arguing whether it is 17 or 19 MLAs.

“…if you look at all these grey areas in the particular merger of the 12 MLAs of the Congress, we feel that there will be enough grounds to fight for disqualification of these individuals,” the Congress leader claimed.

She continued, “Our basic thrust in this filing of our petition is to ensure that we also give opportunity to the Speaker’s office to review the 10th Schedule and adaptation of the rules of the 10th Schedule by the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly in the long run so that the 10th Schedule is not being played around by political ploy of this kind.

There will never be peace, there will never be strength in governance if every individual group of people will start tearing down even the 10th Schedule. This will be an opportunity for the Speaker’s office to consider and to look at all these grounds for disqualification.”

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