Sangma prevent Congress to lead Meghalaya

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Shillong, Mar 9 (UNI) Sensing a fractured mandate, former Lok Sabha Speaker and NCP leader P A Sangma came to Shillong a day after votes were cast on March 3 to garner support of regional parties against the Congress.

The veteran political leader had rushed to the state capital from his bastion in Tura on March 4 and held closed-door consultation with non-Congress parties to form the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance.

''Not even my party members knew that I was here on March 4 and 5 to hold talks with non-Congress party leaders. Nothing was done as a last minute resort nor in haste, it was well-thought out plan,'' Mr Sangma disclosed today.

The Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) is a conglomeration of NCP (14), United Democratic Party (11), Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (2), two Independents and one each from the BJP and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement.

The Congress, which emerged as the single largest party, has fallen short by just six seats to cross the majority threshold in the 60-member House.

''I knew that there would be a fractured mandate after the votes were cast and wanted to find an alternative government minus the Congress,'' the tallest political leader from Northeast said.

Asked whether his chief ministerial aspiration received any setbacks after projecting himself as one before election, Mr Sangma said, ''I respect people's mandate, but have to add, we could not fare on expected lines because of the Congress' money power.'' The NCP MLA, however, managed to bargain last night that the Chief Ministerial berth be held on a rotation basis between the NCP and the UDP.

''I will take over as the Chief Minister in the remaining two and half years from Dr Donkupar Roy,'' he said.

Last night, leaders of the newly-formed MPA had agreed in principle that UDP president Dr Donkupar Roy, who has emerged as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the MPA will lead the government for the first two-and-half years, while the remaining two-and-half years will be headed by Mr Sangma.

''There is a perfect understanding among the coalition partners and we do not foresee any difficulty in MPA's leading a coalition government for the next five years,'' Mr Sangma said.

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