SHILLONG, Mar 12: Veteran regional leader and chief of the United Democratic Party (UDP), Dr Donkupar Roy, on Monday was elected as the Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly.
The election to the post of Speaker was presided by Protem Speaker and Resubelpara legislator, Timothy D Shira.
The election was conducted by secret ballot wherein the nominee of the National People’s Party (NPP) led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA), Dr Roy obtained 35 votes while opposition Congress nominee, Winner D Sangma polled 20 votes.
One vote was rejected since an unidentified legislator from the ruling party ticked twice on the ballot paper.
In the 60-member House 56 legislators voted. Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, legislator from North Shillong, Adelbert Nongrum abstained from the voting.
Opposition leader, Dr Mukul who won from two seats-Ampati and Songsak preferred to vote from the former constituency, while for the Williamnagar seat the election had to be countermanded following the death of NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma.
Soon after, the veteran regional leader was declared elected as the Speaker of the Meghalaya Assembly, Chief Minister, Conrad Sangma and Opposition Leader, Dr Sangma escorted Dr Roy to the Speaker’s Chair.
Congratulating the new Meghalaya Speaker, Conrad said that he was sure Dr Roy’s long experience as a member of the House will give the members the required leadership.
Conrad also remembered that in 2008, when Dr Roy was the Chief Minister of the state and he was the Finance Minister, the veteran regional leader took everyone along and always advised him to follow the procedures and do what is right.
“The ruling side will miss you. We look up to you as a father figure but will not get your guidance in (running) the government,” the Chief Minister said.
“Around thirty-six MLAs are first timers, but with your experience and guidance we will be able to function in an effective manner,” the Chief Minister added.
He also said that there must be healthy debate between the ruling and the opposition in the House even as he suggested training to first time MLAs on the procedures and conduct of business in the Assembly.
Former Chief Minister and Leader of Opposition Dr Mukul Sangma while reminding that he along with the Speaker are one of the veteran leaders in the House said, “The post of Speaker is occupied by a person who is infallible.”
Dr Sangma also remembered that while, Dr Roy was the Leader of Opposition during the last House, whenever there was heated and healthy debate he would mediate.
“You had the wisdom to intervene to create a healthy environment for discussion,” the Opposition Leader said.
The MDA government, which includes the BJP and regional parties, was sworn in on March 6.
Six non-Congress parties and and two independent MLAs constitute the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.