Meghalaya elections: Setback for Congress as NPP chief Conrad Sangma stakes claim to form governmenthttps://indianexpress.com/article/north-east-india/meghalaya/meghalaya-elections-setback-for-congress-as-npp-chief-conrad-sangma-stakes-claim-to-form-government-5085785/

Meghalaya elections: Setback for Congress as NPP chief Conrad Sangma stakes claim to form government

National People's Party's Conrad Sangma met Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad on Sunday to stake claim to form the new government in Meghalaya. BJP's northeast strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma who arrived in support of Sangma said that Sangma will be the next CM of Meghalaya

National People’s Party chief Conrad Sangma met Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad earlier on Sunday (Source: ANI)

In a major setback for Congress, National People’s Party chief Conrad Sangma on Sunday met Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad to stake claim to form the new government in Meghalaya with the support of 34 MLAs. “Running a coalition government is never easy but I am confident that the MLAs who are with us are very committed to the state and people, will work towards development of the state,” Sangma was quoted as saying by ANI.

“Next 2-3 days are very crucial because Assembly term gets over. The House expires on 7th before that everything has to take place and by tomorrow everything will be clear,” Sangma said.

Confirming the news, BJP’s northeast strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Sangma will be made the next CM of Meghalaya and that there will be no deputy CM in the government.

The coalition — Regional Democratic Alliance (RDA) –comprises the NPP, the United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the BJP.

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The latest development comes hours after the Congress also staked a form a government in the state after meeting the Governor. A delegation of three Congress leaders — Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel and CP Joshi — met the governor at 7 pm last night. “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 was quoted as saying by PTI.

Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said: “It’s positive that regional parties got together to work for the region. It’s people’s decisions and we need to respect that.”

According to PTI, NPP has the support of 34 MLAs. UDP president and RDA chairman Donkupar Roy said that NPP was extended support on the condition that Sangma is made the CM. “Conrad Sangma has agreed to the condition and we will form a stable government. The BJP will be a part of the government here.”

The UDP chief said that Mukul Sangma of the Congress, the single largest party in the election, offered him chief ministership on a two-and-a-half year sharing basis between his party and the Congress. “We have rejected this proposal and decided to form a non-Congress government instead,” he said.

Reflecting on the development, Congress working president in Meghalaya Vincent Pala observed that it would be difficult for the NPP-led government to govern the state owing to a fractured mandate. “We accept the verdict of the people. We will keep fighting for the issues of people of Meghalaya. It’s easy to stake claim, since there is a fractured mandate it is easy to form govt but difficult to govern. We will play a constructive role in whatever position we will be in,” Pala said.

“We don’t have pre-poll alliance with anybody. Right from the time of campaigning we knew that BJP, NPP & UDP were together and it has been proved now. The mandate was actually given to Congress,” he pointed out.

On Saturday, Meghalaya threw up a fractured mandate with the ruling Congress emerging as the largest party, marginally ahead of its rival, the NPP, an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Manipur. The Congress bagged 21 seats in the 60-member Assembly, eight less than the last elections. The BJP, which drew a blank in the last elections, got two seats. The UDP won six seats while its alliance partner the HSPDP won two seats.

The People’s Democratic Front (PDF) bagged four seats, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and three Independents got one seat each.

Elections for 59 seats in the 60 member Assembly were held on February 27. After an IED blast killed an NCP leader, results were countermanded for one constituency. Mukul Sangma, the outgoing CM, won the election from both seats he contested.

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“People are fed up with the corrupt Congress government and looking for a change,” Mr Sangma had said earlier.

With inputs from Agencies