SHILLONG, Aug 30 - Newly elected United Democratic Party (UDP) legislator Pius Marwein, who won the Ranikor seat in the recent by-poll, was sworn in at the Meghalaya Assembly Secretariat here today. Marwein defeated five-time MLA and NPP candidate MM Danggo.
The new Ranikor MLA was administered the oath of office by Assembly Speaker Donkupar Roy, who is also the UDP president. Immediately after the swearing-in ceremony, MLAs of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) reaffirmed their faith in the coalition Government of the State.
Those present in the ceremony included NPP Cabinet ministers Sniawbhalang Dhar and Lahkmen Rymbui. The BJP was represented by Cabinet minister AL Hek and the Hill State People�s Democratic Party by Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar.
�This coalition will last its full term of five years and we are all united here,� Roy told reporters. Though the NPP and the UDP are partners in the MDA, they could not agree on a common candidate for the Ranikor constituency and fought against each other.
Stating that everything was fine within the coalition despite the friendly fight in the constituency, Roy said that as there was no pre-poll alliance with the NPP, so the UDP went it alone and contested the seat.
�We only have a post-poll alliance with the NPP. So we put up our candidate and contested from Ranikor,� he said.
Roy brushed aside speculations that the UDP would demand a Cabinet berth for its legislators now that its strength has increased from seven to eight. �We will not make any such demand as we know there are only 12 Cabinet berths. So the question of demanding a Cabinet seat for one of our MLAs does not arise,� he said.
Roy, however, had a hard time explaining the so-called �indirect support� of the Congress for the UDP candidate, which played a crucial role in Danggo�s defeat. Denying that there was any �mutual understanding� with the Congress, he said: �We cannot say whom the Congress supporters voted for. In fact the Congress candidate secured 900 votes, which were the traditional votes of Danggo.�
NPP�s Dhar echoed Roy and said the MDA would last its full term.