Twist in Meghalaya govt formation; HSPDP MLAs support Sangma's NPP, party withdraws
Meghalaya assembly election 2023: On Friday, Conrad Sangma had submitted a letter of support signed by 32 legislators—one more than the required 31- and staked a claim to form the next government.
The road to forming the next government in Meghalaya doesn’t appear smooth for the National Peoples’ Party (NPP) as a regional party, two MLAs of which had extended their support to Conrad Sangma, withdrew the same late on Friday evening.
On Friday, Sangma had submitted a letter of support signed by 32 legislators—one more than the required 31- and staked a claim to form the next government. The oath-taking ceremony was expected to take place on March 7.
The letter contained the signatures of 26 MLAs from the NPP, two from the BJP, two from the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party (HSPDP) and two Independent MLAs. “We have an absolute majority. The BJP has already extended its support. Some others have also given their support,” Conrad said after submitting the letter.
But in a new twist later in the evening, the HSPDP issued a letter claiming it had not authorised the party MLAs to support the formation of an NPP-led government.
“HSPDP didn’t authorize the two MLAs-Methodius Dkhar and Shakliar Warjri to lend support to the formation of your government as we have seen through press/media report,” HSPDP president KP Pangniang and secretary Panborlang Ryntathiang stated in a letter to Conrad, who is also president of the NPP.
“The party (HSPDP) has no role in this affair and therefore withdraws our support to your party….effective from today,” the letter, which HT has seen, and a copy of which was also sent to the Governor, read.
There was no immediate response from the NPP to the HSPDP letter, but party sources claimed that these were minor hiccups and that it still had the required numbers to form government “easily”.
Earlier on Friday, newly elected MLAs and leaders of the United Democratic Party, Congress, Trinamool Congress, HSPDP, Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) and Voice of People Party (VPP) held a meeting in Shillong on Friday to try and form a united front and prevent the NPP from returning to power.
While the two HSPDP MLAs were present at the meeting initially, they left it later, TMC leader Mukul Sangma said.
The meeting took place at the residence of UDP leader Lahkmen Rymbui, who was the home minister in the previous NPP-led government, which both the HSPDP and UDP were a part of. The attempt to prevent Conrad from reaching the CM’s chair seems to have been led by former chief minister and TMC leader Mukul Sangma.
The UDP has 11 MLAs, Congress and TMC five each, VPP 4, HSPDP 2 and PDF 2—taking their tall to 29—two short of the majority.
“The people of the state have spoken loud and clear. It is a fractured mandate for change. It is the responsibility of all political parties except the one that was at the helm of government to understand their responsibility of protecting the interest of the state and come together,” Mukul Sangma told journalists after the meeting.
“We need to join hands and ensure that the state is not subordinated to misrule again and get the dubious tag of being the most corrupt state in the country,” he added.