Outright rejecting the contention put forward by the Congress party that the single largest party be invited to form government in Meghalaya, the state Governor Ganga Prasad on
Sunday invited NPP chief Conrad Sangma to form the new government.
“We have 34 members with us, Honourable Governor has invited NPP leader Conrad Sangma in pursuance of our claim to form the new government. Swearing in is likely on March 6,” a NPP source told the UNI news agency.
With 21 members, the Congress had emerged single largest party but fell short of 10 members in the 60-member assembly.
The Congress under Mukul Sangma as the Chief Minister has been in power in the state for the last 10 years. Meghalaya Congress working president and Lok Sabha MP Vincent H Pala said party leaders met Governor on Saturday and wanted that single largest party should be given opportunity to form government and prove the majority on the floor of the House.
“We paraded 34 MLAs including 19 members from NPP and six UDP besides two from BJP and also Independents.Conrad Sangma will be the next Chief Minister of Meghalaya,” BJP leader and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told reporters after the meeting with Governor.
On Saturday, Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Ahmed Patel had rushed to Shillong to try to cobble together an alliance with regional parties but the efforts did not yield desired results.
The Governor’s decision can be seen as a setback for Congress as in the process the grand old party would be out of seat of power in yet another state.
The Congress is now left with power only in Mizoram, Punjab, poll-bound Karnataka and Puducherry.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said: “It’s positive development that regional parties got together to work for the state’s development. It’s people’s decision”.
According to sources, there may not be any Deputy Chief Minister but UDP leader Donkupar Roy may be made the Speaker of the new assembly.
“As a party we meet and discussed formation of government. We all decided that we should form a non-Congress government to be headed by NPP leader Conrad Sangma,” Mr Donkupar Roy, president of United Democratic Party, said earlier.
“As part of power sharing formula, of the two BJP legislators one of them will be part of the new cabinet. One out of every two MLAs from all coalition partners will be part of the government. Thereby while UDP may get 2 or 3 cabinet berths, NPP will have 9 members,” a source said.
The BJP leadership which seems to have launched a mission to ensure ‘Congress-free India’ apparently draws a satisfaction in the fact that a non-Congress regime will take over the reins in the scenic state.
Son of Late PA Sangma, the 40-year-old Conrad has held key portfolios like Finance, Power and Tourism and was also Leader of the Opposition in Meghalaya Assembly. At present he represents Tura in Lok Sabha and will require to give up his seat and also win an assembly seat within six months.