Meghalaya: NPP-led coalition now 45-member strong, newly-elected MLAs' swearing-in today
The National People's Party-led (NPP) coalition in Meghalaya now has 45 members after two regional parties rallied support for incumbent CM Conrad Sangma to form the government. The newly-elected MLAs will take oath at a special Assembly session on Monday. Meanwhile, the chief minister and other leaders will reportedly be sworn in on Tuesday and Wednesday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Why does this story matter?
- The Meghalaya Assembly election results threw up a fractured mandate as the NPP emerged as the single-largest party with 26 of 59 seats.
- With the backing of two independent MLAs and two each from the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Hill State Peoples' Democratic Party (HSPDP), the coalition crossed the majority mark (31). Now, with two major regional parties' support, the number reached 45.
UDP, PDF extended support to NPP-BJP alliance
The United Democratic Party (UDP), which emerged as Meghalaya's second-largest party with 11 seats, and the People's Democratic Front (PDF), with two seats, extended support to the NPP-BJP alliance, ruling out a hung Assembly by taking it to a comfortable figure of 45 members.
PM Modi to visit Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura
PM Modi will reportedly visit Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura—the three northeastern states which went to elections last month—on Tuesday and Wednesday to attend the swearing-in ceremonies of the chief ministers and other leaders. While the pro tem speaker will administer the oath to the newly-elected MLAs on Monday, the Meghalaya Assembly will meet again on Thursday to elect its new speaker.
Khasi groups demand CM from their community
However, all is not pleasant for Sangma as the Khasi nativist groups have been demanding a CM from their community. The HSPDP backing Sangma, a Garo, has not gone down well with the ethnonationalist groups. The HSPDP's winning candidate Methodius Dkhar faced the community's ire as his office in Shillong was set ablaze on Friday, even as the nativist groups warned of more violence.
Garo, Khasi, Jaintia Hills constitute Meghalaya
Meghalaya comprises primarily three geographical entities and their respective tribes, the Garo Hills, Khasi Hills, and Jaintia Hills. While the Khasi and Jaintia people are related ethnically, the Garo people are considered distinct, among whom the NPP is popular. The Khasi-Jaintia nationalists have been demanding more rights for their collective community called "Jaitbynriew," while the Garos have called for a separate state.
Protesters argue mandate for regional forces
Notably, the HSPDP, UDP, PDF, and the Voice of the People Party (VPP)—which won four seats—emerged victorious in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region. The protesters argue that the mandate is for the regional forces, but the elected leaders are not respecting it. On the other hand, the NPP has accused the opposition, led by former CM Mukul Sangma's Trinamool Congress (TMC), of intimidation.