5 more MLAs in poll-bound Meghalaya quit house, parties

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Shillong, Jan 18, 2023, IANS

Meghalaya Public Health Engineering Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar and four other sitting MLAs of different parties, including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, resigned from the Assembly on Wednesday, hours before the Election Commission announced the election schedule for three northeastern states.

Tongkhar, who is a legislator of Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), Trinamool Congress MLA Shitlang Pale, suspended Congress MLAs Mayralborn Syiem and Process T. Sawkmie and Independent MLA Lambor Malngiang, submitted their resignation letter to Assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh.

While Sawkmie would be inducted into the HSPDP at a later date, but the four others joined the United Democratic Party (UDP) in the presence of their supporters during a function held at the party office here on Wednesday.

Both HSPDO and the UDP are constituent of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, led by National People's Party (NPP) fo Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma.

The BJP, with two MLAs (including a minister), is also a part of the 6-party MDA government.

So far, 18 Meghalaya MLAs have resigned from the House and their respective parties and joined different outfits in less than two months.

Twelve MLAs, led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma (2010-2018) who had won in the 2018 Assembly election as Congress nominees, joined the Trinamool in November 2021, making the West Bengal-based party the main opposition in the northeastern state overnight.

In the 2018 Assembly elections, the Congress won 21 seats in the 60-member Assembly but subsequently all its legislators joined other parties including the Trinamool and the NPP.

Of the 12 Trinamool MLAs, five so far have quit the party to joined other parties.

The Election Commission on Wednesday announced polling will be held in Tripura on February 16 and in Nagaland and Meghalaya on February 27 and the counting of votes is scheduled for March 2.