March 2018
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Conrad Sangma to form govt in Meghalaya, Congress hopes dashed
(SHILLONG, Mar 03, 2018): BJP is poised to make it 3-0 in the recent northeast elections with National People’s Party (NPP) set to head the government in Meghalaya, dashing Congress’s hopes of retaining power.
Led by Conrad Sangma, NPP is looking to form a “secular non-Congress government” which will be sworn in on Tuesday. Its partners will include BJP, United Democratic Party (UDP) and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), whose support was crucial in tilting the balance for NPP. After night-long negotiations, NPP and BJP managed to win over legislators from three regional parties and an independent.

The BJP leadership had made it clear to its functionaries that they should leave no stone unturned in stalling Congress. After NPP struck a deal with supporting parties, Conrad met governor Ganga Prasad to stake claim to form the new government with the support of 34 legislators.

He was accompanied by key BJP strategist and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had arrived in Shillong on Saturday.

BJP strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma reached Shillong soon after Meghalaya threw up a fractured mandate. All MLAs from supporting parties — UDP, HSPDP and People’s Democratic Front (PDF) — and an independent were present when Conrad met the governor. Stitching the coalition needed some effort to smoothen rough edges. UDP has not been on best terms with Conrad and HSPDP has issues with BJP in terms of its electoral base.

But both parties have not been keen to ally with Congress and BJP’s success in other north-eastern states and its presence at the Centre makes it a viable option. In the newly elected House, NPP has 19 legislators while UDP has six, PDF four, HSPDP and BJP two each and one Independent.

PDF has a less structured presence but it won four MLAs. “We have decided that Conrad Sangma will lead the new government as chief minister,” UDP president Donkupar Roy said. “The governor will swear in the new government on Tuesday,” Himanta added.

After his meeting with the governor, Conrad, elder son of late P A Sangma who was the Lok Sabha Speaker, said, “Running a coalition government is never easy but I am confident that the MLAs who are with us are committed to the state and its people, and will work for the development of the state. The next two-three days are crucial because the assembly term gets over by March 7. Everything has to take place before that.” Sarma added, “There will be no deputy chief minister in the government.

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