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One hurdle crossed

The Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) crossed its first hurdle when it got its candidate, Dr Donkupar Roy, elected to the office of Speaker on March 12, 2018. Dr Roy, President of the United Democratic Party (UDP) a constituent of the MDA got 35 out of the 56 votes cast. The Congress voted en-bloc for their candidate Winnerson Sangma, legislator from Salmanpara constituency, West Garo HIlls. Later the MDA also passed the floor test through a voice vote. So for now despite the stresses and strains that coalitions tend to go through, the MDA can breathe a sigh of relief at having managed to pass two crucial tests. The next challenge is to get the Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma elected from any constituency within six months which is a constitutional requirement. Dr Donkupar Roy is expected to guide the legislative proceedings with the dignity it deserves. He will also have to take up in right earnest the construction of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly building which has been hanging fire since the old building was razed to the ground in a raging fire in 2001.

It will take a lot of stamina and political acumen for Conrad Sangma to guide the fortune of the MDA, more so, since he has to strike a balance between the demands made on him by coalition partners and the priorities of governance. People have elected a government to deliver on its promises hence the less political bickering there is the better it is. Normally a coalition government should also have a conflict management team so that any angst from any constituent group does not spill over into the public domain but is contained within the coalition and sorted out. Only a fair and frank discussion on issues affecting the state and its people can cement this government together and prevent it from suffering the fates of many regional party headed governments of the past in Meghalaya. Conrad Sangma has to be humane in dealing with the problems of the people but he needs to be a tough leader to be able to keep the coalition afloat.       

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