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Cong loses ‘single largest party’ tag in Meghalaya

 SHILLONG, June 22 - The Opposition Congress lost the status of the single largest party in the Meghalaya Assembly after one of its MLAs, Martin M Danggo, quit his membership in the House.

It has effectively left the Congress strength at 20, equal to that of the ruling National People’s Party (NPP), which is running a coalition government in the North Eastern State with the BJP and some regional parties. The election for the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly was held in February last.

Danggo submitted his resignation to Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira in the absence of Speaker Donkupar Roy late last night.

“I hereby tender my resignation of my seat in the Assembly from Ranikor (ST) constituency with effect from June 21, 2018,” he said in his resignation letter.

He also intimated the State Congress president of his decision to resign as MLA as well as from the primary membership of the party. “As per the desire of my people, I have tendered my resignation as MLA with effect from June 21, 2018,” Danggo said in his letter to the PCC president.

Danggo, five-time Congress MLA from Ranikor in the South West Khasi Hills district, is likely to join the ruling National People’s Party (NPP), sources close to him said.

The Congress MLA had announced his decision to join the NPP in a public meeting attended by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in his constituency recently, after Sangma accepted the long-standing demand to upgrade Ranikor as a civil subdivision.

Home Minister James K Sangma confirmed the resignation of Danggo, saying it has been accepted.

With the latest development, the Congress strength in the House has been reduced to 20.

The ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) comprises 20 MLAs of the NPP, seven of the United Democratic Party (UDP), four of the newly-formed Peoples Democratic Front (PDF), and two each of the BJP and the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party. The NCP with one MLA and two Independents are also supporting the Government. – PTI

Staff Correspondent adds: MLA Danggo “secretly” tendered his resignation, but it is yet to be accepted by Speaker Donkupar Roy, who is out of station.

Danggo tendered his resignation on Thursday night and his resignation is shrouded in mystery for various reasons. First, he did not turn up at the Assembly Secretariat after keeping Deputy Speaker Timothy D Shira waiting from the afternoon on Thursday till late in the evening.

Secondly, he sent a “boy” with the resignation letter to hand it over to Shira’s office in the evening. Thirdly, Danggo has avoided the media and so far not given any statement regarding the resignation.

However, since the resignation letter was addressed to the Speaker, Shira has not accepted the letter and has instead handed it over to Assembly Commissioner and Secretary Andrew Simons.

Shira said that Simon was taking the letter to Kolkata and would hand it over to Roy so that he can take necessary action. Roy is likely to be back here tomorrow and then a decision would be taken.

“There is nothing to hide. He (Danggo) has not demanded anything else apart from upgrading Ranikor into a civil sub-division and in due course, he would face the media and answer your questions,” Kitborlang Nongrem, an aide of Danggo, said on behalf of the MLA. Nongrem has claimed that Chief Minister Conrad Sangma has promised Danggo that the foundation stone to upgrade Ranikor as a civil subdivision would be laid on July 10.

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Zenith Sangma said nothing definite can be said at the moment considering the circumstances and the manner the resignation letter was handed over.

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