With hung verdict, Cong, NPP look for ways to form Meghalaya govt
Shillong: Meghalaya voters returned a hung Assembly on Saturday, with the ruling Congress emerging as the single largest party with 21 seats in the 60-member house, 10 shorts of the 31 seats needed to retain power.
"It is a fractured mandate. Now it is a question of looking at people who would like to look at common agenda acceptable to the state's people and come together," outgoing Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told IANS.
Sangma, retained Ampati seat for the sixth consecutive term and unseated two-time National People's Party (NPP) candidate Nihim D. Shira in Songsak.
Asked if the Congress had sent feelers to other parties and independents to form the new government, Sangma said: "All parties have gone on their own and the regional parties have not shown any pre-poll alliance either with the Bharatiya Janata Party or the NPP."
The Congress has already parachuted its two senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Mukul Wasnik to try and form the new government in Meghalaya.
The NPP -- an ally of the BJP at the Centre, Rajasthan and Manipur -- emerged as the second largest party with 19 seats and is likely to join hands with the non-Congress parties.
NPP President Conrad K. Sangma, who has arrived in Shillong, is expected to meet leaders of regional and otehr parties -- United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), People's Democratic Front (PDF), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Khun Hyniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) to seek their support to form the non-Congress government.
The UDP and HSPDP, which stitched a pre-poll alliance, won only six and two seats respectively, while the newly floated People's Democratic Front won four.
The BJP won two seats and the NCP and KHNAM one seats each, besides three independents.
"The regional alliance will be meeting this evening and decide the next course of action," UDP leader Metbah Lyngdoh, who retained Mairang seat for the third consecutive term, told IANS.
Accepting the People's mandate, HSPDP supremo Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit said the regional alliance will take a decision when it meets.
BJP General Secretary in charge of Meghalaya affairs, Nalin Kohli, refused to divulge details, only saying that the people's verdict was against the Congress.
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Prominent winners include Public Works Department Minister Martin Danggo, Information and Technology minister Ampareen Lyngdoh, Excise Minister Zenith Sangma, Social Welfare Minister, Clement Marak and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma's wife Dikanchi D. Shira of the Congress.
Leader of Opposition and UDP chief Donkupar Roy retained Shella seat for the seventh consecutive term, James Sangma retained Dadenggre seat for the third consecutive term, James' youngest sister and former Union Minister Agatha Sangma and former Meghalaya Rajya Sabha member Thomas Sangma also won elections as NPP nominees.
Prominent losers include Home Minister Horju Donkupar Roy Lyngdoh, Public Health Engineering Minister Celestine Lyngdoh, Urban Affairs Minister Ronnie V. Lyngdoh, HSPDP chief Artdent Miller Basaiawmoit and UDP Working President Paul Lyngdoh.