BJP Ally Invited To Form Meghalaya Government, Congress Falters: 10 Facts

National Peoples' Party leader Conrad Sangma is going to be sworn in as Meghalaya Chief Minister on 6 March, Tuesday, it was announced after 34 lawmakers met Governor Ganga Prasad.


Conrad Sangma (left), the NPP leader, visited Raj Bhavan to stake claim to form government in Meghalaya.

Shillong: Conrad Sangma, chief of the National People's Party is all set to be the next Chief Minister of Meghalaya. Mr Conrad, who will be sworn in on Tuesday, will not have a deputy, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma announced after Mr Sangma staked claim to form government and received an invite. Meghalaya is the third state after Goa and Manipur where the Congress has not been able to stitch a coalition in time despite emerging as the largest single party. As he came out of his meeting with Governor Ganga Prasad, Mr Sangma underlined that "it's not about being single largest, it's about having the majority". Mr Sarma said the BJP-backed coalition would have 34 lawmakers.
Here are the 10 updates on this story:
  1. Conrad Sangma, who was earlier said to reluctant to be projected as his party's presumptive chief minister, said he agreed to assume the responsibility on the insistence of the coalition partners. He is the son of former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma who founded the NPP that is now run by the Sangma family.
  2. A late afternoon announcement by Dr Donkupar Roy of the United Democratic Party pledging his support to a government led by the 40-year-old cleared the decks for the NPP-led coalition staking claim.
  3. "The UDP decided we should go for non-Congress led government with Conrad Sangma as the Chief Minister," Dr Roy, who emerged as the kingmaker, told NDTV after he rebuffed a last-ditch effort made by the Congress. It was Dr Roy who had conditioned its support on Mr Sangma leading the coalition.
  4. There was high drama at Dr Roy's house earlier in the day when outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma reached his house around the same time to seek his support.
  5. The NPP-led coalition has claimed support of 34 lawmakers in the assembly including 6 of the United Democratic Party, four of the People's Democratic Front and two each from the Hill State People's Democratic Party and the BJP. An independent lawmaker has also joined the coalition, Mr Biswa said.
  6. Congress Mukul Sangma later taunted the BJP for attempting to form the government with just two members. "They want to fire from the shoulder of other political parties," the outgoing chief minister told reporters after submitting his resignation from the post.
  7. Polling on one seat was cancelled after a candidate was killed in an explosion during campaigning. Because outgoing chief minister Mukul Sangma, who ruled the state for a decade, had contested from two seats and will have to vacate one seat, the effective strength of the 60-member house is 58.
  8. Conrad Sangma, 40, had exuded confidence about forming the government even before the last vote was counted on Friday. "People are fed up with the corrupt Congress government and looking for a change," Mr Sangma had said.
  9. The BJP has, however, made it clear that it wasn't looking "at a major role" in Meghalaya but has been rallying support for the NPP.  Mr Biswa later confirmed that one of its two lawmakers would join the government.
  10. A Lok Sabha member from Tura parliamentary constituency, Mr Sangma was the state's youngest Finance Minister in 2008 and was later leader of the opposition in the assembly.

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