SHILLONG: The Opposition on Thursday sprang a surprise by withdrawing the no-confidence motion against the Congress-led MUA-II government, but not before a marathon deliberation on issues affecting the people of the State that lasted for six hours, including the two-hour reply of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.
After the mover of the motion, Ardent Basaiawmoit (HSPDP), withdrew the no-confidence motion stating that the intention of the Opposition was not to topple the government but to raise the burning issues in Meghalaya, there was surprise among members of the ruling side on the final outcome and even the Speaker intervened and said that this was perhaps for the first time that a no-confidence motion against the government was withdrawn by the Opposition.
The discussion on the functioning of the government – including law and order problems like a spurt in crime against women and children and financial crunch, among others – were brought by the Opposition for discussion from 12 pm on Thursday and the debate on the no-confidence motion culminated at 6:15 pm with the reply of the chief minister.
In his reply after the debate on the no-confidence motion, the chief minister highlighted the achievements of the government and assured corrective steps for lapses pointed out by the Opposition members.
The House also witnessed noisy scenes when the Opposition members raised objections to several remarks made by Cabinet Ministers Prestone Tynsong and Ronnie Lyngdoh while defending the government during the discussion.
Earlier, moving the motion, Basaiawmoit asked the State government to adopt a mechanism to check crime against women and children. He also expressed concern over the deteriorating financial position of the State and added that while teachers had resorted to strike for fulfilment of pending demands, students had missed classes.
The HSPDP legislator also indicated that the chief minister has turned out to be an event manager as there were a series of festivals organised by him at the cost of the public exchequer while the poor and the marginalised are struggling to survive.
He also expressed concern over the non functional Crowborough Hotel and the anomalies in converting old Shillong Municipal Board office to a hotel in violation of the original plan, which according to the legislator, has become a failed project now.
Participating in the discussion, NPP’s James Sangma said there was no political motive behind tabling the no-confidence motion. He also pointed out that the Congress government lost the confidence of the people as it is evident from the defeat of the party in Nongstoin by-poll, GHADC polls and the recent by-election to Tura Lok Sabha seat.
UDP’s Donkupar Roy expressed concern over businessmen contesting elections to further their interests. “The trend now is that people tend to vote for those with money. There is a tendency of Ministers doing business. Can we allow this,” Roy said even as he pointed out that during the Zero Hour notice, while referring to the collapse of the bridge at Mawhati in Ri Bhoi, there was a reference to S. Dhar and Company, owned by Cabinet Minister S. Dhar, which constructed the bridge.