After emerging as the single largest party in Meghalaya, the Congress staked a claim to form a government in the state at a meeting with Governor Ganga Prasad, officials and party leaders said on Sunday. A delegation of three Congress leaders – Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel and CP Joshi – met the governor at 7 pm last night, they said.
“We met the Governor and sought his invitation to the single largest party to be called first to form the government as per convention,” former Union minister Nath told PTI. The Congress won 21 seats out the 59 that went to polls last month. The party is 10 seats short of a simple majority. After heavy losses in Tripura and Nagaland, Nath, Patel and Joshi reached Meghalaya from Delhi in a bid to form a government, party sources said.
The Congress has been in power in the state for the last 10 years. Meghalaya Congress working president Vincent H Pala expressed confidence that regional parties such as the United Democratic Party, which won six seats, and the People’s Democratic Front, which bagged four, will join the Congress. “We are in talks. We hope that they will join us,” Pala said.
The National People’s Party (NPP) and its ally at the Centre and in Manipur, the BJP, together won 21 seats, though they contested independently. The BJP has also sent its leader from Assam, H B Sarma, to the Meghalaya capital to help the ally form a government. “We can only help the NPP and encourage the regional parties to form a government,” Sarma said.