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Meghalaya: When Cong and BJP met

It also prompts the archrivals to convene urgent meetings to discuss the development
Representational picture of BJP supporters
Representational picture of BJP supporters
File Picture

Umanand Jaiswal   |   Guwahati   |   Published 10.02.22, 01:03 AM

The decision of the five Congress MLAs to join the National People’s Party-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government on Tuesday, making both the Congress and the BJP part of the same government has not only caused unease in both the parties but also prompted the archrivals to convene urgent meetings to discuss the development on Friday.

BJP national vice-president Chuba Ao, in-charge of Meghalaya, told The Telegraph that a stock-taking meeting of the state core committee had been convened at 5pm on Friday in Shillong to know the mind of the state leaders and legislators before taking any decision.     

Meghalaya PCC working president P.N. Syiem too told this newspaper that the state Pradesh Congress Committee would be meeting to discuss the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) move at 11am in Shillong to know everyone’s views on how the two parties with different ideologies could stay in the same government. All the five MLAs have been invited to the meeting, Syiem said.   

The five MLAs — CLP leader Dr M. Ampareen Lyngdoh, Mayralbrom Syiem, Mohendro Rapsang, P.T. Sawkmie and Kimfa S. Marbaniang. — handed a joint letter to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on Tuesday to join the MDA government in the “interest” of the state and its people. Lyngdoh said it was a unanimous decision.

In November, 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs had merged with the Trinamul. It made the Trinamul the main Opposition party in the 60-member Assembly.

Sangma welcomed the CLP members into the government fold, adding they would all work together under the banner of the MDA to strengthen the government in the interest of the state.

The reasons for the unease in the Congress and the BJP are different. Congress leaders said the five had unilaterally decided to join the MDA government, which has BJP as a coalition partner.

“Neither the MPCC or AICC knew about the move nor there is any AICC approval. It is also confusing. How can we join hands with a non-secular party (BJP)? This is not right. Friday’s meeting will take stock by hearing all sides and taking a decision,” one of them said.

The state BJP is unhappy because they were in the dark about the development as the chief minister had not consulted the alliance partners. State BJP president Ernest Mawrie told this newspaper on Tuesday that he was surprised by the development since the party was not consulted despite being part of the government.

“How can a tiger and a deer drink from the same river? Congress is our rival both at the Centre and in the state. Let us see what our party leadership decides,” he said when asked whether they will walk out of the government. The BJP has two MLAs, of whom one is a minister. With Congress’ support, the MDA now enjoys the support of 48 MLAs.

The only Opposition now is the Trinamul, which has 12 MLAs. Meghalaya goes to the polls in 2023.

There has been two instances in the past where the Congress and the BJP have been part of the ruling alliance, including eight Congress MLAs supporting the NPF-led Nagaland government in 2015 which also had BJP as an ally. 

CLP leader and four-time MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh told The Telegraph that they were still with the Congress and took the decision in the interest of their constituencies and the state.

She also revealed that they had informed the party leadership about extending issue-based support to the state government soon after 12 of their colleagues led by former chief minister Mukul Sangma merged with the Trinamul in November.

“We were waiting for some answer from the party high command on the way forward. We are also elected and have to look after our constituencies. Since there was no response from the central leaders, we took it as their consent and decided to join the government,” Lyngdoh said.   

She also asserted that they had the option to merge or defect but they didn’t. “We chose not to merge... we chose not to defect. We took the party along with us. We are still Congress MLAs,” she said.

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