Shillong, March 1: Mukul M. Sangma is all set to embark on a new innings as Meghalaya chief minister after AICC president Sonia Gandhi anointed him as the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader today.
Yesterday, the Congress stormed back to power by winning in 29 constituencies — 16 in Khasi-Jaintia hills and 13 in Garo hills — out of the 60 seats it had contested.
This is the highest tally so far for the Congress since the first Assembly polls held in 1972.
The other political parties like P.A. Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) and the United Democratic Party (UDP) suffered severe bruises as they managed to win in only two and eight constituencies, respectively.
After the Congress legislators met this afternoon at Hotel Pinewood, a resolution was adopted to authorise the AICC president in deciding who should be the CLP leader.
Following Sonia’s approval, the CLP was again reconvened to adopt a formal resolution endorsing the outgoing chief minister as its leader.
Union overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi, who was here to supervise the election of the CLP leader, and AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik conveyed the decision of the CLP to the AICC president.
While the Congress remained two seats short of forming a government on its own, already eight Independents and two from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have expressed their desire to provide unconditional support to the new government.
“This unity and your determination to go together without any factionalism will provide a stable government, and the people of Meghalaya will be happy with your performance,” Ravi told the Congress legislators after Meghalaya PCC president D.D. Lapang read out a formal resolution, which endorsed Mukul Sangma as the CLP leader.
The resolution was seconded by former chief minister Salseng C. Marak and PCC working president Deborah C. Marak.
Accepting the endorsement, Mukul Sangma said, “I am overwhelmed and humbled by the support of all my colleagues, including my senior colleagues and all my friends in the CLP. I was a little worried because the responsibility that comes before us now is huge because our performance must be commensurate to the high expectations of the people.”
He said the mandate that has been given to the Congress by the people reflects the amount of their expectations.
“Therefore, as we move forward from now, our responsibility will be definitely huge. But I am sure we can live up to the expectations of the people. We have an enormous task ahead of us and we can achieve this task with the blend of old and young colleagues,” the CLP leader said.
Later in the evening, Sangma met Governor R.S. Mooshahary at Raj Bhavan to stake his claim for forming the new government.
The swearing-in ceremony is likely to take place on Tuesday although it remains to be seen whether a full-fledged ministry will take oath or just Sangma alone.
Meghalaya can have only 12 ministers in the cabinet.
Sangma has tendered his resignation as chief minister to Mooshahary to pave the way for the formation of the new government.