Meghalaya elections: Ahead of swearing-in ceremony, 1 ally ditches Conrad Sangma
Shillong, March 6: Political drama continues in Meghalaya hours ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of the new government in the state on Tuesday. Conrad Sangma, head of the National People's Party (NPP), who is all set to become the new chief minister of the hill state, got a jolt on Monday when one of his alliance partners, the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) with two MLAs, decided not to be a part of the government.
Since Conrad still has the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member Meghalaya Assembly, thus he has the numbers to form the government. The results of the Meghalaya Assembly elections did not give a clear mandate to any party. The Congress won 21 seats making it the single largest party in the state.
However, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders came in the way of the Congress as the saffron party with just two MLAs managed to cobble up an alliance with the NPP (19 MLAs) and other regional parties. As of now, the NPP-led alliance in Meghalaya has the support of 32 MLAs, which include 19 from the NPP, two from the BJP, six from the United Democratic Party (UDP), four from the People's Democratic Front (PDF) and one Independent.
BJP national spokesperson and Meghalaya in-charge Nalin S Kohli said Union home minister Rajnath Singh, BJP chief Amit Shah and BJP strategist and North East Democratic Alliance (Neda) convener Himanta Biswa Sarma will attend the ceremony.
On Monday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP of "usurping" power through a proxy in Meghalaya and using "big money" to create an "opportunistic alliance" in the state.
Gandhi alleged that the BJP is "obsessed" with "grabbing" power and has shown "utter disregard" to the mandate of people in the state. "With just 2 seats, the BJP has usurped power in Meghalaya, through a proxy. Like in Manipur and Goa, showing utter disregard for the mandate of the people. Obsessed instead with grabbing power, using big money to create an opportunistic alliance," Rahul said on Twitter.
He also used the hashtag "DemocracyDemonetised" with his tweet to target the BJP.
The Congress was in power in Meghalaya for the last 15 years. The failure to retain power in the hill state has come as a major jolt to the Congress.