Opp NCP, sans two MLAs, set to merge with Purno’s party

Our Bureau

 SHILLONG/NEW DELHI: Meghalaya’s main Opposition party NCP is all set to merge with the National People’s Party on Friday at Shillong which is expected to have far reaching effects both in the region as well as the Centre.

All the NCP MLAs barring two – Adolf Lu Hitler R Marak and Sanbor Shullai – are joining the new party, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) sources said. But Union Minister of State, Ms Agatha Sangma, will not be joining the new party, obviously as a ploy not to lose her ministership at the Centre.

The lone Rajya Sabha MP from Meghalaya, Thomas Sangma, is also not joining the new party. He will continue to be with the NCP for now, party sources said.

The new party will be basically a tribal-centric national party with the ‘Book’ as its symbol, the sources said. All the NCP legislators have been asked to reach Shillong by Friday morning for the formal merger in the afternoon.

Besides Meghalaya, existing NCP units in the North East and some other parts of the country are likely to join the new party floated by former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno A Sangma.

“The NPP is already recognised by the Election Commission of India with the permanent symbol of a Book,” Sangma said on Thursday.

Informing that the NPP was earlier based in Manipur, he said the party would now be based in New Delhi following amendment of the party constitution.

The Manipur-based NPP had won three Assembly seats in the 2007 Assembly elections, but the party drew blank in the 2012 polls.

It may be recalled that Purno Sangma had resigned from the NCP and also quit as MLA giving up his Tura Assembly seat to contest the Presidential election as an independent candidate supported by the BJP-led NDA, BJD and AIADMK.

The Meghalaya unit of the NCP was unhappy with national president Sharad Pawar for not extending his support to Sangma in the Presidential polls and for supporting the UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee who is now the President. But at the same time Agatha continued to remain in the NCP and in the Union Cabinet.

When asked about the Constitutional validity of the sitting NCP legislators in the State joining the NPP, the former Lok Sabha Speaker said the sitting NCP legislators in the State can always merge with the NPP as per the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

While quoting Section 4 of the Tenth Schedule, Sangma said, “No member will be disqualified from the membership of the House where his original political party merges with another political party provided that not less than two third of the members of the legislature party concerned have agreed to such merger.”

According to Sangma, even if there are a few legislators who are opposed to the merger, the merger would still be counted if two-thirds of the members of that party decide to associate with another party.

Sangma also gave the classic example of the merger of former BJP legislator of the State, AL Hek, with the Congress.

“Despite the BJP being a national party, it could not stop Hek from joining the Congress since the party had only one legislator in the 60-member House. The same thing applies to the NCP legislators in the State,” Sangma said.

When contacted, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly and NCP leader, Conrad K Sangma, said on Thursday night that the party legislators have not yet taken a final call on the merger.

“The party legislators would be having a detailed discussion on the matter before taking a final call,” Conrad said.

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