Meghalaya | Other States

Conrad Sangma heads non-Congress coalition 10 years after father stitched one

New role: Conrad Sangma arriving for his swearing-in in Shillong on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Conrad Kongkal Sangma has begun his innings as the head of a non-Congress government in Meghalaya 10 years after his father Purno Agitok Sangma stitched one.

The Meghalaya Progressive Alliance that the senior Sangma cobbled up in 2008 had – except for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), a new regional player – the same constituents as younger son Conrad’s coalition government sworn in on Tuesday.

But then, the NCP metamorphosed into the National People’s Party (NPP) that is heading the coalition now. Conrad Sangma took over charge of the NPP after his father, who founded the party in January 2013, died two years ago.

The Assembly election a decade ago had produced a fractured verdict. The Congress with 25 MLAs was the single largest party, but the NCP with 14 and the United Democratic Party (UDP) with 11 came together to form the government with the BJP (one MLA) and other regional parties such as the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) that had two legislators.

This time, the Congress bagged 21 seats including the two that former Chief Minister Mukul M. Sangma won. The NPP won 19, the UDP six, the PDF four and the BJP and the HSPDP two each.

In 2008, Purno Sangma gave up the opportunity to become Meghalaya’s Chief Minister for the second time in order to ensure stability in a State notorious for political uncertainty except for the first six years after its birth in 1972.

UDP president Donkupar Roy became the Chief Minister that year, but the inevitable happened. The alliance government lasted a year, 365 days to be precise.

Mr. Roy has been chosen Speaker of the 60-member Assembly.

Elections, though, were held for 59 seats only as suspected militants had gunned down NCP candidate Jonathone N. Sangma in the Williamnagar seat.

“History has repeated itself if one takes the composition of the NPP-led government into consideration. But we hope the well-educated, young (40) Conrad Sangma will have fresh ideas to not let the history of instability be repeated,” Tokiwaio Blah, former bureaucrat and political analyst, told The Hindu from Meghalaya capital Shillong.

The father and son, he added, have another thing in common. They were sworn in as Chief Minister on the same day – February 6.

Purno Sangma was 41 years old when he became the State’s fourth Chief Minister in 1988.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 3:01:21 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/conrad-sangma-heads-non-congress-coalition-10-years-after-father-stitched-one/article22953459.ece

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