PM Modi to attend Meghalaya Assembly swearing in on Tuesday; UDP allotted two Cabinet berths

Nagaland heading for an Opposition-less government with almost all parties extending unconditional support to the NDPP-BJP alliance

Updated - October 01, 2023 01:06 pm IST

Published - March 06, 2023 07:14 pm IST - GUWAHATI

Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan receives the letter of support from National People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma to form the Government in Meghalaya in alliance with UDP and PDF, in Shillong, on March 6, 2023.

Meghalaya Governor Phagu Chauhan receives the letter of support from National People’s Party (NPP) leader Conrad Sangma to form the Government in Meghalaya in alliance with UDP and PDF, in Shillong, on March 6, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The United Democratic Party (UDP), a constant in every alliance government in Meghalaya since 2010 except for a five-year phase from 2013, has been allotted two berths in the Cabinet of the new five-party government to be headed by the National People’s Party (NPP).

The alliance has a total of 45 MLAs including two independents. The NPP has 26 MLAs followed by the UDP with 11, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) with two each.

After the newly-elected MLAs took the oath of office on Monday, Chief Minister-designate Conrad K. Sangma said his party, the NPP, would keep eight Cabinet berths. 

“We have decided to call ourselves the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance 2.0 since the partners are the same. We also decided that the Chief Minister will be the chairman of the alliance,” he said.

“Out of the 12 Cabinet berths we can have (in the 60-member House), eight will be for the NPP, two for the UDP and one each for the BJP and the HSPDP,” Mr. Sangma said, adding that the berths have been distributed equitably between the State’s two major regions.

“Eight Ministers will be from the Khasi-Jaintia Hills and four, including the CM, will be from the Garo Hills,” he said.

Mr. Sangma added that the NPP leadership had proposed a name for the Speaker. “I shall be discussing the name with our alliance partners before an announcement is made.”

The alliance partners would work out the common minimum programme after the swearing-in of the Ministers in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, he said.

ALSO READ | ‘BJP washing machine now running full speed’: Congress dig at BJP support to Conrad Sangma-led Govt.

The UDP and the PDF were late entrants in the NPP-led formation. The two parties had been part of a Trinamool Congress initiative to form an alternative government minus the NPP and the BJP but the plan failed when two MLAs of the HSPDP slipped away from the meeting on March 3 and submitted a letter of support to Mr. Sangma.

Two days later, the UDP and the PDF also submitted their letters of support to Mr. Sangma, who handed them over to Governor Phagu Chauhan on Monday.

‘Opposition-less’ Nagaland

Nagaland is likely to have an Opposition-less government with almost all the political parties extending unconditional support to the alliance of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and the BJP.

The outgoing government also had no Opposition after the Naga People’s Front (NPF) joined the NDPP-BJP alliance in 2021.

Apart from the NDPP and the BJP, which won a total of 37 seats in the 60-member House, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won seven, the NPP five, the NPF, the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas) and the Republican Party of India (Athawale) two each, the Janata Dal (United) one and independents four.

Nagaland has not had so many parties bagging Assembly seats before.

The NDPP and the BJP elected Neiphiu Rio and Yanthungo Patton as their legislature party leaders respectively. The former would be the Chief Minister for the fifth time, thrice as a leader of the NPF. The swearing-in of the new Nagaland government is scheduled on March 7.

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