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MDA wins Speaker post, confidence of House

Former chief minister Donkupar assumes new role

SHILLONG: The House on Monday elected senior UDP legislator Donkupar Roy as the new Speaker of the 10th Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and expressed confidence in the NPP-led MDA government headed by Conrad Sangma.
While Roy won the post of Speaker following secret ballot, the MDA government secured the confidence of the House by voice vote.
When the confidence motion was moved by Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong, CLP leader Mukul Sangma intervened and wanted a response on whether the government was led by BJP or NPP leading to the clarification by the chief minister that MDA was “very much led by NPP”.
Earlier during the election of the Speaker, the MDA nominee Roy secured 35 votes and the opposition candidate Winnerson Sangma got 20 in the House of 56 members who were present. One vote from the opposition was declared invalid as there were tick marks against the names of both the candidates.
The lone KHNAM legislator, Adelbert Nongrum, was not present in the House.
The opposition had the strength of 22, including two seats by Mukul and independent SK Sunn.
However, Mukul had only one vote and chose Ampati when his name was called thereby reducing the strength of the Congress to 20.
The strength of MDA was 36 but since pro-tem Speaker Timothy Shira, who chaired the proceedings, did not vote, the votes polled for MDA was 35.
After the election of the Speaker, the chief minister and the CLP leader escorted Roy to the chair.
The chief minister was the first to congratulate Roy, who is the senior-most member of the House having won seven times.
Conrad said since it is Roy’s seventh time, his experience will help new legislators. He also urged the new Speaker to provide training to the newly elected MLAs.
Recalling his association with Roy who was the chief minister when the former was the finance minister in 2008, Conrad said Roy was fair and just and carried everyone along.
Mukul narrated his association with Roy and looked forward to having a productive session in the days to come.
Congress’s PT Sawkmie said it was a joyous moment for all the members of the House.
Former Assembly Speaker MM Danggo (Congress) said in England, the norm is that “once a Speaker is always a Speaker” indicting the neutrality of the Speaker.
Danggo said in the Indian context, the Speaker belongs to a party and is guided by other considerations. He, however, hoped that with years of experience, Roy would be able to do justice to all members of the House.
Tynsong said he was shocked when Roy chose to become the Assembly Speaker as his service was needed in the government being the leader of a political party and senior most member of the House.
Home Minister James Sangma said Roy should have been elected unopposed like in the past.
Others who took part in the felicitation of the Speaker included independent member Lambor Malngiang, Congress legislators Zenith Sangma, Charles Pyngrope, Ampareen Lyngdoh, George Lyngdoh, Lazarus Sangma, Mayralborn Syiem, Hamlet Dohling and Banteidor Lyngdoh (both PDF), Health Minister AL Hek, Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh, Forest and Environment Minister Lahkmen Rymbui, Timothy Shira and Agatha Sangma (both NPP) and Saleng Sangma (NCP), besides others.
In his reply, Roy said he would play the role of a non-partisan Speaker and assured that training would be arranged for the new legislators.

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