GUWAHATI: Hit hard by the desertion of 12 party MLAs to the Trinamool Congress (TMC), a beleaguered Congress in Meghalaya is trying to survive by riding piggyback on the National People’s Party (NPP) which heads the state’s ruling coalition.
But in doing so, the grand old party got closer to the BJP which is an NPP ally and a component of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.
Until mid-November, the Congress’s main rival in the state was the NPP. The TMC’s entry, albeit via a political coup, made the Congress cosy up to the NPP.
The Congress decided to work together with the MDA on issues relating to the interests of people. The party has already conveyed its decision to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma.
“We have decided to offer our support to the government on the aspect of governance in the greater interest of the people of Meghalaya,” Congress leader Ampareen Lyngdoh said.
Last month, the Congress had suffered a body blow when 12 of its 17 MLAs, led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, defected to the TMC. The development relegated the Congress to a smaller party and made the TMC the state’s principal opposition overnight. It had no MLAs before.
After the departure of the dozen party MLAs, speculations were rife in the hilly state that the Congress and the NPP might explore the idea of working together given state Congress chief and Shillong MP, Vincent H Pala’s proximity to the NPP leadership.
He did neither take phone calls nor reply to WhatsApp messages on Saturday.
People following Meghalaya politics closely said one must not be surprised if the five Congress MLAs merge themselves with the NPP ahead of Assembly elections, due early 2023.
The Congress is battling for survival in the state. It has been hurt not just by the desertion of the 12 MLAs but also by the resignation of hundreds of Youth Congress and National Students’ Union of India workers.
The TMC said following its emergence in the state’s political landscape, the Congress was feeling threatened.
“But our intention is not to threaten anybody. We want to build the party that will work for the people,” TMC Meghalaya chief Charles Pyngrope told this newspaper.