No-trust motion procedure ‘fishy’, alleges Opp
SHILLONG: The no-confidence motion against Assembly Speaker AT Mondal tabled by the Opposition was defeated by voice vote on Wednesday, but not before the House witnessed a noisy scene with Opposition members terming as ‘fishy’ the appointment of a panel of Chairmen by the Assembly Speaker on Tuesday, a day before the motion was taken up. The Opposition alleged that it was a ploy to defeat the motion brought by them.
One among the panel of Chairmen Ronnie Lyngdoh (Congress) chaired the session when the no confidence motion was taken up and the Speaker sat near the Deputy Speaker in the Treasury Bench.
When the matter came up for consideration, Opposition member James Sangma (NPP) before moving the motion termed the re- constitution of panel of Chairman by the Speaker to take up the no- confidence motion in his absence as the ‘accused choosing his own Judge’.
Moreover, the resignation of Deputy Speaker, Sanbor Shullai on Monday added to the suspicion of the Opposition that something ‘fishy’ is going on.
What irked the Opposition was the presence of Congress legislator Martin Danggo in the House on Wednesday as the Speaker had on Tuesday conveyed to the Assembly that Danggo, who was in the panel of Chairmen was ill and expressed his inability to function as Chairman thereby resulting in the re-constitution of the panel of Chairmen.
It was after the resignation of the Deputy Speaker on Monday that the Speaker re-constituted the panel of the Chairmen on Tuesday to chair the session.
James Sangma, before moving the no confidence motion wanted to know the purpose for reconstitution of Panel of Chairmen when the Deputy Speaker looked ‘hale and hearty’ and was present in the House Wednesday.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong and DD Lapang (Congress) , while referring to the re- constitution of the panel of Chairmen, said there was no need for the Opposition to raise an issue which was already decided by the Speaker on Tuesday. They said that since he was unwell, Danggo decided not to be part of the panel of Chairmen though he was present in the House.
Lapang said that the Opposition has deviated from the main issue and added that the Opposition should have raised the issue on Tuesday itself when the panel of Chairmen was re constituted.
With debate lingering on around his health status, Danggo stood up and informed the House that he had gone to Guwahati for medical treatment since he was unwell and it was only after he got the doctor’s permission that he returned to attend the session.
The Opposition wanted clarity on two things; one, on why the Speaker changed the panel of Chairman stating that Danggo was unwell ahead of the no confidence motion and second was the reason for reconstituting the panel of Chairmen when Danggo had not resigned.
Paul Lyngdoh (UDP) while referring to the Assembly bulletin said there is no mention in it about the resignation of Danggo from the panel of Chairmen. “Since he ( Danggo) is present in the House, why is he not presiding over the session as he is now well.” Paul questioned. He said the flimsy excuse that Danggo was undergoing treatment does not hold water. Quoting the rule book Saleng Sangma (Independent) sought a clarification on whether the Speaker can preside over the House after the No Confidence Motion against him was admitted in the House. To this Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong said the matter was taken up for consideration only on Wednesday and not when it was admitted.
Leader of Opposition Donkupar Roy (UDP) reiterated that the Speaker’s ruling on Tuesday that Danggo was unwell was wrong as he was present in the House on Wednesday. Roy also wanted to know how the panel of Chairmen could be reconstituted by the Speaker when the No Confidence Motion admitted him was already admitted.
James Sangma reiterated that since something fishy was going on, there should be an assurance from the Government in this regard before moving the no-confidence motion.
Meanwhile, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Prestone Tynsong pointed out that the word, ‘fishy’ is un-parliamentary and asked the Opposition to prove their allegation. In reply, James Sangma asked the Government to prove whether the appointment of panel of Chairmen was proper..
Amidst the raging debate, the Treasury Bench failed to give a satisfactory reply on whether Danggo actually resigned from the panel of Chairmen.
With the Opposition still insisting that there should be clarity on these aspects before moving the motion , the Chairman, Ronnie Lyngdoh asked James Sangma and others including, Jemino Mawthoh (UDP), Witting Mawsor (HSPDP) and John Leslee Sangma (Independent) who had jointly tabled the motion, to move it or else he would take up the motion for voice vote.
Jemino Mawthoh said that the discontentment among the legislators is very apparent and the House is the best place to ventilate those grievances. “We still want to know the validity of Speaker reconstituting the panel of Chairmen”, he said.
With the Opposition members remaining adamant to stall the motion pending clarity on points raised by them, the Chairman Ronnie Lyngdoh put the No Confidence Motion to voice vote and predictable the motion was defeated.
Earlier, soon after the Question Hour, Opposition Leader Donkupar Roy and other members quoting rules wanted the Government to take up the No- Confidence Motion immediately, but the Speaker disallowed this stating that the matter was listed as the last item of the day since the budget needed to be passed first. Unhappy over the decision, NPP member James Sangma entered the well of the House and came closer to the Speaker showing the rule book and demanding that the matter should be taken up first. Even after the Opposition Leader asked James to return to the seat, he remained there for some time only to resume his seat later.