SHILLONG, Sept 14 – The opposition NCP-tabled no confidence motion against the ruling Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance Government was defeated in the Assembly today.
The motion was defeated by 43 against 13 votes with two members abstaining from voting. However, there was a heated exchange between the ruling and the opposition on the procedure of the vote.
The opposition wanted the voting to be conducted through a ballot so that it can be recorded, but the ruling insisted on a voice vote or head count.
Finally, the Speaker Charles Pyngrope ruled that the voting should be conducted through head count and officials recorded the number and the result was declared.
The opposition was hoping that voting through ballot would witness cross voting within the fractured Congress party. In fact, one of the Congress members, Frankenstein Momin, a known opponent of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, supported the opposition for voting through ballot.
“I am supporting the process of voting (through ballot) and not the motion,” Momin said giving weight to the opposition.
Earlier, opposition leader Conrad Sangma without withdrawing the no confidence motion quoted rules and said, the voting must be done through ballot like in the Parliament where Automatic Voting Machines are used so that numbers are recoded.
“Since we don’t have AVMs, we need to vote through ballot,” the opposition leader said reading from Constitutional rule books.
However, the entire ruling party opposed the move. Deputy Chief Minister and in-charge Parliamentary Affairs, Rowell Lyngdoh said, as per conventions in the Meghalaya Assembly such voting are conducted through voice vote and head counts.
“Let us go by convention,” former Chief Minister and senior Congress legislator, DD Lapang suggested to the Speaker. Purno Sangma from the NCP said that conventions should make way for modern technology and new procedures.
Others, both from the treasury and the opposition joined in and a heated exchange of words continued for over half an hour before the Speaker took his decision.