Meghalaya: Conrad submits letter of support of 32 MLAs to Guv, stakes claim to form govt

The NPP emerged the single-largest party in Meghalaya, bagging 26 of the 59 seats that went to polls on February 27.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma submits his resignation to Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan, in Shillong. (Photo | PTI)
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma submits his resignation to Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan, in Shillong. (Photo | PTI)

GUWAHATI: National People’s Party (NPP) chief Conrad K Sangma on Friday staked claim to form the next government in Meghalaya after tendering his resignation as the outgoing Chief Minister.

Before meeting Governor Phagu Chauhan at the Raj Bhawan in Shillong, he told journalists, “We have the numbers but we cannot share the details now. Let’s wait and watch.”

Later in the day, he said the coalition government would be formed with 32 MLAs. “We have 32 MLAs with us – 26 from NPP, 2 from BJP, 2 from Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and 2 independents,” he said.

The BJP had committed its written support to the NPP on Thursday. However, the HSPDP had written to Conrad Sangma on Friday stating that it did not authorize the two MLAs to lend their support to NPP. The HSPDP was part of the NPP-led six-party outgoing government.

Meghalaya has 60 constituencies but 59 of them went to the February 27 polls. The day saw hectic politicking surrounding the numbers game with Trinamool Congress stalwart and former CM Mukul Sangma reaching out to other parties. Reacting to the same, Conrad said, “Let them have the meetings. We have the numbers and we are confident the Governor will invite us to form the government.”

He also said the date of the swearing-in ceremony would be decided at the convenience of senior BJP leaders, including PM Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who were likely to attend it.

Mukul held a meeting with the leaders of the United Democratic Party, which won 11 seats and was part of the outgoing government, and the newly-floated Voice of the People Party that bagged four seats. Emerging from the meeting, he told journalists, “There was no decisive mandate for any political party this election. The mandate was for a change.”

Ironically, Meghalaya has had a history of coalition governments. Except for the first election in 1972, it never had a single-party government.

Meanwhile, the BJP’s Manik Saha on Friday submitted his resignation as Tripura CM to Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in Agartala but did not stake claim to form the new government. The swearing-in ceremony of the new government is expected on March 8.

Later, the dental surgeon-turned-politician told journalists that PM Modi, Home Minister Shah and other Central ministers were likely to attend the swearing-in ceremony.  The BJP won 32 of the 60 seats and its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura had won one.

In Nagaland, Neiphiu Rio of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) will continue as the CM. NDPP leader and former CM TR Zeliang told journalists that the four-time CM Rio was unanimously elected as the legislature party leader at a meeting which party president Chingwang Konyak had convened.

The NDPP won 25 seats in the recent polls and its ally BJP 12 in the 60-member House. Some leaders of the two parties are likely to fly to Delhi in a day or two for a joint meeting before the swearing-in ceremony which is likely to be held on March 7.

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The New Indian Express