Fractured mandate in Meghalaya, Congress largest party

March 7th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by admin  

Shillong, March 7 (IANS) The Congress Friday emerged as the single largest party in Meghalaya although it fell short of majority leaving the stage open for hectic politicking. The Congress won 25 seats in the 60-member legislature, followed by the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with 14 and the regional United Democratic Party (UDP) with 11, while independents won five seats. Smaller regional parties won three seats and the Bharatiya Janata Party bagged one.

Notable winners include Chief Minister D.D. Lapang, former parliament speaker P.A. Sangma, former chief minister and UDP leader E.K. Mawlong.

In the last assembly, the Congress had 29 legislators and was backed by 14 other regional party lawmakers, including the UDP, in running the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government.

There was no pre-poll alliance this time between the Congress and the UDP.

Hectic political activities have begun with the Congress leaders getting in touch with UDP leaders for a possible tie-up, even as the NCP has opened channels of communication with the UDP and independents. “The UDP has emerged as the kingmaker with 11 seats,” a political analyst said.

The Congress party is hopeful of forming the government with the support of the UDP. “We shall surely form the government. We have many options,” Charles Pyngrope, a senior Congress leader, said.

Political instability is the hallmark in Meghalaya - the state has seen six different governments with varied combinations of political parties, resulting in four chief ministers in a span of five years between 1998 and the last assembly elections in 2003. There were just two occasions when a chief minister was able to complete the full five-year term since Meghalaya attained statehood in 1972.

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