SHILLONG, March 1 – Congress today staked claim to form the Government together with the support of two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and eight Independent legislators at the Raj Bhavan here.
In a departure from previous Government formation and election of Congress Legislature Party elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today intervened and appointed Mukul Sangma as the CLP leader, after the party swept Purno Sangma out of his traditional bastion in Garo Hills winning 13 seats out of the 24 seats there.
“The decision of the Congress president was accepted unanimously and the CLP elected Mukul Sangma as its leader,” Union Steel Minister and Congress Working Committee member Vayallar Ravi said.
He added that the Congress, which bagged 29 seats, have received the letter of support from the two NCP and eight independent legislators, out of the 13, who won the elections. “We have the letter of support of eight independent candidates and the NCP and would be forming the Government with the support of these legislators,” Ravi added.
A while later, Sangma together with Ravi, MPCC president DD Lapang, Sanjay Bapna, Minister Environment and Forest Prestone Tynsong, Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh, MP Vincent Pala and others met the Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary to stake claim in forming the Government.
Tentatively, March 5 has been fixed for the swearing in, after the Election Commission issues its notification dissolving the 8th Meghalaya Assembly.
Sangma refused to give the composition of his Cabinet colleagues, only assuring that all aspect of equal representation of districts and other criteria would be considered before a final decision is taken.
“The people has given us a clear mandate and we assure that all the promises in our election manifesto, especially employment to youth and women, would be the Government’s priority and would be fulfilled at the earliest,” Sangma added.
Meanwhile, the United Democratic Party, an ally of the Congress, decided in a meeting, to sit in the opposition after the party’s poor performance in the elections managing just eight seats.
The Hill State People’ Democratic Party also decided to sit in the opposition with its four legislators. Both these parties are in talks to form an alliance of their own in the Assembly.
“We fared poorly in this election due to money power. Nonetheless, we respect the verdict and have decided to sit in the opposition together with like-minded parties,” UDP president Donkupar Roy said.