Despite winning only 2 seats, BJP to be in power in Meghalaya, largest party Congress cries foul (ANI photo)
NPP president Conrad Sangma met Meghalaya Governor Ganga Prasad on Sunday evening and staked claim to form the government in the state with the support of 34 MLAs in the 60-member Assembly.
Meghalaya threw up a fractured mandate on Saturday with the ruling Congress emerging as the largest party, marginally ahead of its rival, the National People’s Party (NPP), an ally of the BJP at the Centre and in Manipur.
“We met the Governor and submitted a letter of support from 34 MLAs, 19 of the NPP, six of the the United Democratic Party (UDP), four of the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), two each of the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the BJP and an Independent,” 40-year-old Sangma told reporters outside the Raj Bhavan Shillong.
The NPP leader is the youngest son of former Lok Sabha Speaker (L) P A Sangma who died in 2016. He was elected a Member of Parliament in a by-election from Tura constituency after his father’s death.
A delegation of three Congress leaders—Kamal Nath, Ahmed Patel and C P Joshi—had Saturday staked a claim to form the government in the state at a meeting with the Governor.
“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.
"Opportunity must be given to the single largest party. If it can't prove majority then party at the 2nd position could be invited. They don't want democracy & want to create an environment of fear. It won't go on for long, people will understand this gradually," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said.
The Congress won 21 seats out the 59 that went to polls last month. The party is 10 seats short of a simple majority. The Congress has been in power in the state for the last 10 years.
Asked about the challenges of running a coalition government, Sangma today said, “It is not an easy task. But the parties who are supporting us are committed to working for the welfare of the people and the state. We will work on a common agenda.”
The Congress this time got eight seats less than in the last elections.
The BJP, which drew a blank in the last elections, bagged two seats.
The NPP won 19 seats, the UDP secured six seats while its alliance partner the HSPDP got two seats. The PDF bagged four seats while the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and three Independents got one seat each.
Polling for 59 Assembly seats was held on February 27. A Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate was killed in an IED blast, resulting in countermanding of the polls in one seat.
Outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma had contested and won the elections from two seats. He will have to give up one seat.
After heavy losses in Tripura and Nagaland, Nath, Patel and Joshi reached Meghalaya from Delhi in a bid to form a government.