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NPP snubs ally BJP in Meghalaya tribal council

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The National People’s Party (NPP) has staked claim for power in a tribal council in Meghalaya without ally BJP as a partner.

The BJP has played down the ‘snub’ claiming the party led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma was scared of being exposed for having indulged in largescale corruption in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC).

The GHADC polls for 29 seats were held on April 12. The Congress emerged as the single largest party by bagging 12 seats followed by the NPP with 11. The BJP won two seats and the regional Garo National Council (GNC) one while three seats went to independent candidates.

A party or coalition needs at least 15 seats to rule the council.

The BJP had hoped to be an ‘automatic’ choice as the NPP’s ally in the GHADC by virtue of being a partner in the multi-party Meghalaya government headed by the NPP.

But the NPP sought the support of the lone elected member of the GNC and the three independents to form the new council with exactly 15 members of district council (MDCs).

“Every election is fought on its own terms and conditions,” Mr. Sangma told journalists in Meghalaya, indicating his party was not interested in taking the BJP along.

One of the reasons for snubbing the BJP is believed to be the latter’s insistence on one of its two elected members becoming the Chief Executive Member of the GHADC.

“They are ignoring the BJP because they are scared of being exposed for having indulged in corruption and manipulation in the GHADC,” State BJP vice-president and one of the party’s two MDCs, Bernard N. Marak, said on Sunday.

The NPP had won 10 seats in the 2015 GHADC polls but ended up ruling the council in coalition with some regional parties. Apart from being embroiled in alleged scams worth more than ₹100 crore, the outgoing council had failed to pay salaries to its employees for up to 35 months.

“The NPP wants to bury the problems instead of trying to correct them. This is the reason why they don’t want the BJP as a partner in power, but this is not a big issue for us,” Mr. Marak said.

He said the BJP would now work on the “bigger agenda” of winning as many seats in the Assembly polls scheduled in 2023.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 6:45:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/npp-snubs-ally-bjp-in-meghalaya-tribal-council/article34349745.ece

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