New Delhi, March 4: A day after the Election Commission declared hung assembly in Meghalaya, the state appeared to be slipping through the Congress’ fingers after the United Democratic Party announced its support to the National People’s Party (NPP), the regional party that won 19 assembly seats and is also supported by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). [Also read: Hung Assembly in Meghalaya, Cong single largest party]
According to several reports, National People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma is set to be sworn in as the next chief minister of Meghalaya on Tuesday with support from the BJP and other regional players.
Till Sunday afternoon, the coalition was claiming the support of 29 MLAs but the numbers grew by the evening. On Sunday evening, Congress leader and outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the BJP’s master strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma rushed to meet Dr Donkupar Roy, president of the UDP whose six legislators are seen crucial for any coalition to form the next government.
According to a report, both, Congress and BJP leaders, reached Dr Roy’s house around the same time.
It is learnt that Mukul Sangma have made an attempt to persuade the UDF president to change his stand on support to the NPP which is part of BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at the centre.
In Meghalaya, the NPP had contested the assembly election on its own but its claim to form the government is being actively supported by the BJP which wants to keep the Congress out.
After Mukul Sangma left Dr Roy’s residence, Himanta Biswa Sarma stayed there for a couple of hours, NDTV reported.
The NPP, founded by former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma, won 19 seats in results declared on Saturday, the UDP got six, the PDF got four, the BP and the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party secured two seats each in the 60-member House.
Among the three Independent MLAs, Samuel Sangma is said to have declared his support on Sunday.
Conrad Sangma also met governor Ganga Prasad on Sunday evening and staked claim to form the government. He also handed a letter of support from 34 MLAs to the governor and his swearing-in is set for Tuesday.
After this, the BJP comes to power in six of the seven Northeastern states, barring Mizoram, the lone state where the Congress is in power.
The Congress, which was ruling Meghalaya, won 21 seats and emerged as the single-largest party, but couldn’t gather the required number to retain power.
Last year the Congress had failed to form governments in Manipura and Goa despite emerging as the single-largest party in booth assemblies. But the BJP came to power in both states with the help of smaller parties and Independents.
State Congress president Vincent Pala on Sunday said that it was his party who won the mandate of the people in the state assembly.
Senior BJP leaders like Nalin Kohli, KJ Alphons and Himanta Biswa Sarma accompanied Conrad Sangma to the Raj Bhavan in Shillong.
Congress leader Mukul Sangma, who was chief minister of Meghalaya for eight years, submitted his resignation to the governor and taunted the BJP for attempting to form the government with just two members.