* UDP, HSDP, Ind MLA back NPP
From A Correspondent
Shillong, March 4: The tiol People’s Party (NPP) with the support of the regiol parties - United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Party (PDF), Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) and an Independent on Sunday staked claim to form the Government in Meghalaya.
NPP, tiol President and Chief Minister desigte, Conrad K Sangma on Sunday evening met Governor Ganga Prasad with a letter of support from his alliance partners.
The alliance has 34 MLAs which includes, 19 NPP legislators, six UDP MLAs, four from the PDF, two each of the BJP and the HSPDP and one independent. The lone independent who gave his support to the new Government is Samuel Sangma.
With the State again giving a fractured mandate, there were hectic parleys between the NPP and the UDP and the HSPDP, which already had a pre-poll alliance, since Saturday evening.
The BJP’s key strategist in the North-east, Himanta Biswa Sarma also worked overtime to see a non-Congress Government in Meghalaya. Speaking to media persons after meeting the Governor on Sunday evening, Conrad said that the letter of support which the NPP had received from the three regiol parties stated that they would support a Government led by him.
“We have agreed to the condition set by the three regiol parties. Therefore, I am going to be the Chief Minister,” he said. The Chief Minister desigte also said that the coming days are crucial since the term of the Assembly ends on March 7.
“The oath taking ceremony will take place before this date,” he said.
Conrad also said that the picture will be clearer by Monday.
“We are yet to decide on cabinet sharing and who will occupy the post of the Deputy Chief Minister,” he added.
On what issues his priority will be after assuming office, Conrad said that the party from day-one will work to provide good governce to the people of Meghalaya.
He said that the coalition realises the fact that governce is missing and would want to ensure that there is transparency in the system.
“We will be focusing a lot on implementation of the central schemes in the proper manner,” Conrad said.
The Chief Minister desigte also told media persons that the NPP-led coalition would be focusing on the social sectors like - health and education.
“The youth sector will be important for us. We are sad that our State does not have a policy in most of the sectors,” he added.
When asked that the Congress should have been called to form the Government being the single largest party, the NPP leader said that it is not about being the single largest but it is about the group who has the majority.
“It is clear that we have the majority by getting the support of the 34 MLAs,” Conrad said.
When asked why the party has back out since they have earlier projected Prestone Tynsong as the Chief Ministerial candidate of the party, Conrad said that they have not come down from their earlier stand but it was circumstances which has led to this situation
The NPP tiol President said that the UDP, PDF and HSPDP had set a condition that he should lead the Government if the NPP wanted their support.
Conrad also admitted that running a coalition Government would not an easy task.
“I am confident that the MLAs who are in the group are committed to the cause of the State. I am sure we have to work with a good understanding and carry everybody together,” Chief Minister desigte said.
“I am sure if we work in a sincere manner. We will ensure that there is stability in the Government,” Conrad added.
Significantly, the Regiol Democratic Alliance comprising of the UDP and the HSPDP has become the “kingmakers” after both the Congress and NPP could not muster majority on their own. The PDF came on board only in the evening.
The official residence of UDP chief and veteran regiol legislator from Shella, Donkupar Roy, was a hub of political activities on Sunday.
The first who visited, Roy were BJP leaders, Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju along with Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons, who is also the election in-charge of the State and tiol spokesperson lin Kohli.
Soon after they left, Congress leaders Zenith M Sangma and Winnerson Sangma met the UDP leaders. Almost immediately after they left, incumbent Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma met Roy to seek the latter’s support to form a Government with the Congress.
While they were in a meeting, BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and Conrad Sangma also reached the UDP chief’s residence.
Meanwhile, on Sunday afternoon, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma tendered his resigtion to the Governor.