The ruling Congress is all set to form the next government in Meghalaya even as it fell short of the magic number by two seats.

The Congress won 29 of the total 60 seats of Meghalaya Assembly, the results of which were declared on Thursday. This is the highest number of seats won by the Congress in Meghalaya since the creation of the State in 1972. The party won 25 seats in 2008.

The party can seek support either from the independents, who have won 13 seats, or the regional parties.

The National People’s Party (NPP), led by former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma, managed to win only two of the 32 seats it contested in its debut electoral performance. The Congress won 13 seats against seven in 2008 in Garo Hills districts, a traditional bastion of Mr. Sangma. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which won 15 seats in 2008 under the leadership of Mr. Sangma, won two seats this time.

The major regional party in the State — the United Democratic Party (UDP) — which was the coalition partner in the outgoing Dr. Mukul Sangma-led government but fought against the Congress this time, won eight seats against 11 in 2008. Another regional party — Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) — improved its tally by winning four seats against two. One seat each was won by the Garo National Council and North East Social Democratic Party (NESDP).

The State this time has also elected four women candidates (all from the Congress), which is the highest since 1972.

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma won by a margin of 9096 votes while his wife Dikkanchi D. Shira won from Mahendraganj constituency in her debut. The Chief Minister’s brother Zenith M. Sangma won from Rangsokona.