With the Meghalaya poll being just two months away, the State is buzzing with speculations. Will Narendra Modi spread his magic wand and secure another state for BJP, thus further strengthening their stronghold over Northeast? Will Congress finally manage to retain one of the Northeastern states after losing Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur? While there are reasons to believe that Congress is down and out, it is also a fact that BJP has never come to power in Meghalaya before. How important role would be played by Conrad Sangma’s Nationalist People’s Party (NPP)? So, it would be interesting to note how events unfold in the coming months.
The Congress which has ruled the State for 15 years is facing anti-incumbency and this was one of the main factors which brought curtains down on Tarun Gogoi’s regime in 2016. Mukul Sangma will also need to be careful about that. The situation in his party is already made worse by internal bickering leading to some big names joining rival parties.
Rowell Lyngdoh of Mawkyrwat was the first sitting Congress Legislator to declare publicly that he would join the Nationalist People’s Party. The next to follow suit was the Pynursla MLA, Prestone Tynsong whose supporters have, in thousands preceded him in joining NPP on October 8 last following the dissolution of the Pynursla Block Congress Committee. A prominent absentee from the Congress list will be MLA P N Syiem who has even resigned from the Assembly two days ago. More names have deserted the Congress ship in the past few days and this might hit the ruling party hard. While Congress will put up new faces but it is to be seen whether these new faces can become an alternative to the big names.
The biggest gain from the Congress’ loss is the NPP particularly in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. Once viewed as a Garo Party, the NPP’s future in the eastern sector of the state looks bright. The acceptance, perhaps is due to the fact that the party did will in Manipur. It even has four MLAs in Rajasthan. The image of a national party and disgruntlement with the Congress has temporarily strengthened the NPP in Khasi-Jaintia Hills.
Meanwhile, BJP will be hopeful for their chances in Meghalaya after victories in Assam and Manipur, there are issues like beef ban, GST etc which may turn out to be a deterrent to their ambition. The party that is currently ruling more than half of India had hopes of forging an anti- Congress alliance with the UDP, the NPP and other parties. Doubting the Amit Shah led party, the regional parties were in no mood to align with the perceived communal party. Plus they are not willing to sacrifice the possibility of expanding their own horizons. Contrary to expectation no legislator has expressed their intention to join the BJP. All this does not augur well for the ruling party at the centre.
An alliance of UDP and HSPDP may do well in their own turf but they have almost zero presence in Garo Hills. One cannot hope to come to power when you get nil result in the other half of the state. The blame goes primarily to the UDP. It has made little effort to organise and strengthen itself in Garo Hills over the years. A united party is effectively remaining in its comfort zone or better still safe cocoon.
Time will tell who occupies the throne in Shillong next year. But it will be an election to watch out for throwing several possibilities.
Source- Albert Thyrniang