BJP gets shot in arm with big expansion in the Northeast

Still short of 10 seats Congress stakes claim to form Meghalaya govt

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and BJP President Amit Shah are likely to arrive in Meghalaya on Tuesday to participate in the swearing-in ceremony of the NPP-led government in the state, Assam BJP leaders said.

National People's Party (NPP) supremo Conrad Kongkal Sangma will be sworn in as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya on Tuesday even as the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) expressed reservation in forming the government with the BJP.

Outgoing chief minister Sangma has alleged that the BJP has brought the regional parties together to piggy ride on them and fire from their shoulder in the state after formation the new government.

In the months before the elections, Conrad Sangma projected his party as an attractive local alternative to both the Congress and the BJP - many in Meghalaya found the saffron party to be too communal. The regional party was formed by former Lok Sabha speaker P.A. Sangma in 2013 after he parted ways with Sharad Pawar-led Nationalist Congress Party. A major achievement of the previous chief minister, Mukul Sangma of the Congress, was that he could ensure political stability in the state for over eight years. "The BJP has proved in the Northeast that ideology, the country's security and unity, nothing matters".

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They are Prestone Tynsong, Comingone Ymbon, Sniawbhalang Dhar and Conrad's brother James P K Sangma (all from NPP), Metbah Lyngdoh, Lakhmen Rymbui, Kyrmen Shylla (all UDP), Banteidor Lyngdoh (PDF), Hamlet Dohling (PDF), Samlin Malngiang (HSPDP) and A L Hek (BJP). Eleven other ministers also took an oath along with Sangma.

The ruling alliance will be headed by the NPP with 19 seats, and comprise the United Democratic Party (6 seats), People's Democratic Front (4 seats), Hill State People's Democratic Party (2 seats) and one Independent.

Speaking to media persons Sangma said "Our priority is very clear". The BJP, which won just two of the 59 seats it contested despite a high-voltage campaign, also played a role in influencing the parties to keep aside their differences and unite.

Son of former Lok Sabha Speaker P.A. Sangma, Conrad is now a Lok Sabha member from Tura.

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