ARPA loses majority, PDF decides to wait & watch

KHADC set to see Administrative rule before next EC takes over

Nominated MDC Gabriel Wahlang shakes hands with the KHADC judge Dr S Syiemlieh after being sworn in as a member of the House on Friday. (ST)

SHILLONG: The Opposition alliance – People’s Democratic Forum (PDF) in the KHADC has decided to stay the course and not rush to demand the appointment of Administrator following a stalemate in the Council after the All Regional Parties Alliance (ARPA) lost its majority when nominated MDC Gabriel Wahlang of the Congress took oath as MDC on Friday.
Wahlang was sworn in by District Council judge Dr S Syiemlieh.
Speaking to newspersons on Friday, PDF Chairman PN Syiem said that the opposition alliance will not immediately demand for the appointment of administrators to take over the reins of the Council.
“We anticipate that the KHADC CEM Adelbert Nongrum will gracefully step down after the ruling coalition has lost its majority in the 30-member House,” PN Syiem stated, adding that in the floor of the House the PDF is in the majority as it has the support of 15 MDCs while ARPA has the support of 14 MDCs only since the Chairperson Teilinia Thangkhiew is expected to be neutral.
Syiem further stated that in the light of the present circumstances the EC which is now in the minority cannot continue to remain in  office. It should immediately step down to pave way for a new dispensation to take over the administration of the Council.  He said that the ruling coalition will not be able to pass the Council’s budget or any bills in the next session of the KHADC since they are leading a minority EC.
When asked about their next course of action, the PDF chairman said, “Now it will depend on the State government and district council affairs (DCA) department to do what is required,” adding “We are now waiting for both government and DCA to guide us.”
Meanwhile, District Council Affairs Minister HDR Lyngdoh said the government is yet to receive any communication from both the ruling and Opposition on the present development in the Council hence the Government cannot step in to intervene.
The PDF Parliamentary Party leader Process T Sawkmie, meanwhile, said that the opposition alliance could have disrupted the budget session which concluded on Friday when they had moved the no-confidence motion since they both had the support of the 14 MDCs in the House.
“We had not made such move since we are concerned about the welfare of the staff. The vote on account for three months from April 1 to June 30 would not have been passed if we had disrupted the session,” Sawkmie said, adding that the PDF was formed with the sole objective of giving better service to the people.
Denying that the opposition was power hungry as alleged by some sections, Sawkmie said, “If we were power hungry then we would not have gone slow in demanding for appointment of the administrator in the Council.”
The PDF however expressed appreciation on the decision of the government to immediately approve the appointment of the nominated MDC.
“The decision of the government came after ARPA failed to recommend the name of a nominated MDC for nearly one year,” he said while stating that the rule specifically mentions the need to appoint a nominated MDC in order to have a full fledged 30 member House.
Earlier, the ARPA which was formed by three regional parties –HSPDP, KHNAM and UDP has a total strength of 17 members. However its strength was reduced to 15 after two of its executive members (EMs), namely Grace Mary Kharpuri (Ind) and KHNAM MDC PT Sawkmie, resigned from the KHNAM and from the ruling coalition – ARPA.
Kharpuri and Sawkmie had shifted their allegiance to the PDF, which recently moved a no confidence motion against the ARPA executive committee led by Adelbert Nongrum. PDF, a newly formed alliance, presently has the support of 10 Congress MDCs, 3 Independent MDCs and one NCP. The PDF chairman refused to admit that the Congress was under compulsion to allow the former KHNAM MDC (Sawkmie) to lead the opposition alliance only to manage to form the next EC to lead the Council
Rejecting such allegations, Syiem said that the PDF is a newly formed group and if he as leader of opposition of the KHUDA had to hand over the responsibility to PT Sawkmie as the PP leader of the PDF, there will not be any difficulty in handing over the post to any members of the PDF.
“Any member of the alliance can be projected as PP leader. We are not here for our personal gain but to serve the interests of the people,” Syiem said.
When asked why the PDF failed to project a leader from the Congress which has the majority members, Syiem said that the Congress is part of the PDF but the PDF is not part of the Congress.
“Any decision on any matter is being taken up as an alliance and not on partisan lines.” he said.  Adding to this, PDF PP leader PT Sawkmie said that the PDF is committed to bring a stable executive committee in the KHADC adding that any member of the alliance can become a PP leader.
On the allegation that he was made a scapegoat, Sawkmie said, “There is nothing like that. We respect all members in the PDF.”
Maintaining that there will be a rotation for the post of PP leader, the PDF leader said, “The rotation will be among Syiem and Sawkmie, with the commitment to give the best service to the people besides bringing stability by forming the new EC.”