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NPP chief Conrad Sangma. Photo: HT
NPP chief Conrad Sangma. Photo: HT

Conrad Sangma to be new Meghalaya chief minister

Conrad Sangma met Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad on Sunday to stake claim to form the government with the support of 34 MLAs

New Delhi:Conrad Sangma, chief of the National People’s Party (NPP), is set to take oath as Meghalaya chief minister on Tuesday, marking the return of regional parties at the helm of the hill state’s politics after a decade.

Sangma will oversee a rare alliance of four regional parties—the NPP, United Democratic Party (UDP), People’s Democratic Front (PDF) and Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP)—as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and an independent.

A day after meeting Meghalaya governor Ganga Prasad to stake claim to form the government with the support of 34 MLAs, Sangma on Monday told reporters he was invited to form the government.

“A one-day special session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly will be held on 7 March at 10am, where the newly elected MLAs will take oath before Protem Speaker at the Assembly chamber," assembly commissioner and secretary Andrew Simons said in a statement according to PTI. After assuming charge as the chief minister, Sangma will recommend the name of the Protem Speaker, the report added.

Sangma is currently a Lok Sabha member from the Tura seat in Meghalaya. He is the youngest son of former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma and took over the reins of the party after his father’s death in 2016.

With Meghalaya, the BJP is now in power in six out of seven states in the North-East—either by itself or in an alliance. The last time a regional alliance was in power in Meghalaya was in 2008.

Sangma taking oath as the next chief minister will also mark the end of a nearly decade-long Congress rule under chief minister Mukul Sangma. Congress had secured the highest number of seats, 21, in the polls but failed to stitch up an alliance or garner support from other parties.

“We are committed to strengthening our party across the North-East and to winning back the trust of the people," Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Monday. He added that the BJP has “usurped power in Meghalaya, through a proxy" and that it was an “opportunistic alliance".

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