A day before National People’s Party chief Conrad Sangma is to be sworn in as Chief Minister of Meghalaya, fissures appeared in the non-Congress coalition his party and the BJP had cobbled up Sunday. Ardent Basaiawmoit, president of Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), with two MLAs, announced his party cannot be part of a government that has the BJP in it. Conrad’s NPP played it down, saying both MLAs of HSPDP were in touch with it.
However, late at night, The Indian Express accessed the list of MLAs who will take oath on Tuesday, and the HSPDP MLAs were not in it. BJP president Amit Shah and Home Minister Rajnath Singh are set to attend the oath-taking ceremony. NPP leaders said Conrad and 11 ministers will be sworn in.
The UDP, which has six MLAs, also bargained hard. Its chief Donkupar Roy, who was once CM, wanted a key ministerial portfolio for himself. Through the day Conrad, his brother James Sangma and Tynsong held hectic negotiations with Roy and other alliance partners. Finally, it was decided that UDP will have three ministers and Roy will be made Speaker initially.
There will be no threat to the NPP-led government even without the HSPDP. Without its two MLAs, the NPP coalition still enjoys the support of 32 MLAs.
Senior NPP leader Prestone Tynsong told The Indian Express that Basaiawmoit was being “immature” by taking such a stand.
Rahul slams BJP
Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday accused the BJP of “usurping” power in Meghalaya through proxy. His comments came a day after the Congress failed to cobble up a coalition despite emerging as the single largest party.
“With just 2 seats, the BJP has usurped power in Meghalaya, through a proxy. Like in Manipur & Goa, showing utter disregard for the mandate of the people. Obsessed instead with grabbing power, using big money to create an opportunistic alliance,” he tweeted using the hashtag #DemocracyDemonetised.