The electorate of the picturesque State of Meghalaya delivered a fractured mandate in the Assembly polls: even though the Congress emerged as the single largest party, winning 21 of the 59 seats where elections were held, it will not be able to form government without the support of regional parties.
The National People’s Party (NPP), formed by former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma in 2013 and now led by his son and Tura MP Conrad Sangma, has emerged as the second largest party with 19 seats. The NPP had won only two seats in the 2013 elections.
While the vote share of the Congress has decreased from 34.7% in 2013, when it won 29 seats, to 28.5% in this elections, the vote share of the NPP has increased from 8.8% to 20.6%.
The BJP won two seats, but its vote share increased from 1.27% in 2013 to 9.6 %.
The NPP and UDP are part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) but had contested the polls separately.
The United Democratic Party (UDP), the main Opposition party in the State, has won six seats. The People’s Democratic Front (PDF), set up only a year ago, won four seats. The Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), one of the oldest regional parties in the hills, has won two seats and the Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have won one seat each. Three seats went to Independent candidates.
It runs in the family
Congress leader and Chief Minister Mukul Sangma won the elections from both Ampati and Songsak seats. His wife, Dikkanchi D. Shira, won from Mahendraganj and his brother Zenith M. Sangma won from Rangsakona.
His sister-in-law Sadhiarani M. Sangma lost to NCP candidate Saleng A. Sangma by a narrow margin of 135 votes.
“The results were not on expected lines, but I am still looking forward,” said the Chief Minister.
Asked if the Congress would be able to form a government again, Mr. Sangma said he would not like to reveal his party’s plan now. “I would like to keep my cards close to the chest,” he said.
P.A. Sangma’s daughter Agatha won the South Tura seat, while her brother, James Pasang Kongkal Sangma, won from Dadengree.
Both the seats are located in West Garo Hills district of the State. UDP leader and former Chief Minister Donkupar Roy won from Shella seat in East Khasi Hills.
Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel and Mukul Wasnik arrived in Shillong late on Saturday evening to facilitate formation of a Congress-led government in Meghalaya. The BJP has sent Assam Minister and senior leader Himanta Biswa Sarma to ensure that the balance tilts in the favour of non-Congress parties.
(With PTI inputs)