NPP emerges single largest party in Meghalaya, Assam CM says BJP to support NPP

Shillong: The ruling National People’s Party on Thursday emerged as the single largest party in Meghalaya Assembly winning 26 seats, just four short of an absolute majority in the presently 59-member house.
The hung assembly means that the NPP would have to cobble up support from other “like-minded” political parties.
As the officials counted the votes cast in Monday’s polls, the NPP swept its bastion the Garo Hills region winning 17 out of the 24 seats there.
Chief Minister and NPP supremo Conrad Sangma, who led the campaign from the front across the State, won the prestigious South Tura seat defeating his nearest BJP rival, Bernard Marak by 2,830 votes.
The party won four seats in Jaintia Hills, two seats each in Ri-Bhoi and East Khasi Hills, but drew a blank in the West Khasi Hills region.
In the Khasi-Jaintia-Ri-Bhoi region there were 35 seats. Though Meghalaya has a 60-member Assembly, the election to the Sohoing seat was adjourned following the death of a candidate.
Prominent NPP leaders who won the election are Deputy Chief Minister, Prestone Tynsong, Cabinet Minister, Sniawbhalang Dhar, Thomas Sangma former Rajya Sabha member,) Timothy Shira (deputy Speaker of the assembly,) Abu Taher Mondol (former Speaker of the assembly), Comingone Ymbon, Ampareen Lyngdoh and others.
However, the NPP faced an upset with Power minister and elder brother of the Chief Minister, James Sangma losing from Dadengre constituency by a mere 7 votes to Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate Rupa Marak. Transport minister Dasakhitbha Lamare lost the Nongkrem seat coming in third. The seat was won by the new entrant, Voice of the People Party’s (VPP), Ardent Basaiawmoit.
“We thank people for voting for the NPP, we are short of numbers (to cross the halfway mark.) We will wait for the final result and then decide (on forming a coalition government,)” an elated Chief Minister said.
When asked about the formation of the new government, Sangma told UNI over phone “We are meeting now to discuss the combination of the new government.”
The BJP, which was expecting to make impressive gains in the just concluded election, could not improve on its performance in the 2018 election, as both of its sitting legislators Alexander Laloo Hek (Pynthorumkhrah) and Sanbor Shullai (South Shillong) retained their respective seats.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told UNI over the phone that the BJP will support the NPP in forming the next government in Meghalaya.
The Congress, which had finished as the single largest party in the previous election held five years back, won five assembly seats.
Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president and sitting Lok Sabha member, Vincent Pala lost on his home turf Sutnga-Saipung to NPP’s Santa Mary Shylla by 2,019 votes. Shylla polled 15,414 votes against Pala’s 13,395 votes.
All 21 Congress legislators elected in 2018 had crossed over to other parties in the intervening years. The TMC was virtually born out of deserters from Congress.
The TMC which drew a blank in Tripura, suffered a major setback in Meghalaya winning only five seats despite conducting a blitzkrieg campaign. In the end, the party couldn’t live up to its own expectation.
In fact, its leader and former Chief Minister, Dr Mukul Sangma lost one of the two seats he contested. Mukul retained Songsak seat, while the NPP candidate Jimmy Sangma defeated the TMC leader in Tikrikilla assembly seat. The former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma’s wife, Dikkanchi Shira and brother Zenith Sangma lost the polls.
Interestingly, the new entrant, VPP performed exceedingly well winning 4 seats, out of the 18 seats it contested.
The party’s performance was outstanding considering its low-key door-to-door campaign in deviation from the high decibel campaign of some of the major parties of the state.
In fact, the highest victory margin of all candidates was of the VPP aspirant from Mawlai constituency,
Brightstarwell Marbaniang in which he defeated his nearest NPP rival by over 15000 votes.
The United Democratic Party, an ally in the previous NPP-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government won 11, all in the Khasi-Jaintia-Ri-Bhoi region. The Hill State People’s Democratic Party, People’s Democratic Front and Independents won two seats each.

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