Meghalaya Speaker dismisses Congress' disqualification plea against 12 deserters

By PTI

SHILLONG: Meghalaya Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh on Thursday rejected Congress’ plea to disqualify its 12 MLAs who deserted the party and joined TMC and declared their move as ‘valid’ under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution.

Senior Congress leader Mukul Sangma, his aide Charles Pyngrope, who is a former assembly speaker and 10 others had on November 25 merged with TMC making it the principal Opposition party in the state.

“I am satisfied that the merger of 12 members of Indian National Congress is valid under the 10th schedule of the Constitution and does not attract disqualification,” the speaker said in his order after hearing both the parties.

“I do not find merit in the submissions made in the petition filed by Ampareen Lyngdoh, MLA, and therefore, the same is hereby dismissed,” he stated.

The 10th Schedule of the Constitution contains provisions relating to disqualification on the ground of defection.

It was included under the 52nd Constitution Amendment Act, also called Anti Defection Act (1985).

Reacting to the order, Lyngdoh, who belongs to the Congress, said she “respects” the order and will not pursue with the petition.

“I will not pursue forward with this petition because our campaign will take priority in 2022. The party, however, may have a different view on the matter,” she said.

The Meghalaya Assembly election is due in March 2023.

Lyngdoh said the Congress Legislature Party had petitioned against the desertion to object to the manner in which the exodus was disclosed.

“We have our election platforms to continue discussion on this betrayal and at the end of the day it is the general people who will decide and present their verdict during the election,” she added.