Meghalaya election result: Rahul Gandhi is not in the country and Congress is facing a very tough task - to find allies after emerging as the single largest party in Meghalaya.
Meghalaya election result: Rahul Gandhi is not in the country and Congress is facing a very tough task – to find allies after emerging as the single largest party in Meghalaya. The Congress has won 21 seats in the 60-member state Assembly, falling 10 short of a majority in the state. On the other hand, Conrad Sangma-led National People’s Party has emerged as the close runner-up, winning 19 seats. Both Congress and NPP have started making giant efforts to rope in smaller alliance partners and independents to stake claims on government formation.
However, Congress is facing a major challenge here – the BJP, which is pushing hard for the formation of a non-congress government in the state. For the BJP, senior leaders Kiren Rijuju, Himanta Biswa Sarma and Ram Madhav have already rushed to the state to ensure the formation of a non-Congress government in the state.
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On the other hand, for Congress, Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath, Mukul Wasnik, and AICC general secretary in charge of Northeast CP Joshi have rushed to Shillong. Speaking to The Indian Express, Ahmed Patel said stories of Manipur and Goa, where, despite getting majority, Congress was not able to form the government, will not be repeated here.
Former Union minister Kamal Nath exuded confidence that Congress will form the government in the state. “The will of the people of Meghalaya will be reflected in our Congress government… We are in touch with everybody. Everybody is in touch with us,” Nath was quoted as saying by The Indian Express.
More than the government, securing a majority in the state has become a battle of prestige for Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi’s respective lieutenants. The BJP has a clear advantage here as the party is already in alliance with the NPP at the Centre and Manipur, therefore the likelihood of the two parties coming together is strong. Another important player here is United Democratic Party, which has won six seats. The UDP too is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA). This way, the combine tally of NEDA in the state becomes 27, just 4 short of the majority.
Playing the role of kingmaker is former Congress MLA Pynshngain N Syiem-led People’s Democratic Front, which has won four seats. The PDF was floated only last year by Syiem, who was heavily critical of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma. The chances of this party backing a Congress government headed by Sangma are very unlikely. Now, it is up to the BJP, which won two seats in the state, to strike a deal with Syiem’s party.
For Congress, going with Mukul Sangama as CM is also a difficult task. Some sources have told The Indian Express that Congress might seek their MLAs’ opinion on choosing a different leader if the need arises. Looking at the situation, it seems that forming a government in Meghalaya is close to an impossible task for the Congress.