Meghalaya, an otherwise politically stable and quiet state is in the news for the past half month because of apparent political instability. The events occurring of ate have left the Meghalaya Congress Government in a tizzy. Possibly the only Congress stronghold left in the country. In Meghalaya the party is witnessing dissent from within. In what may be called a mass migration of sitting Congress MLAs, so far 9 MLAs have jumped ship to the BJP and NPP (National Peoples Party) in less than half a month. Meghalaya goes to polls in mid-February.
On December 29th, 8 MLAs, 5 from Congress and 3 others bid adieu to their former parties and joined the NPP, an ally of the BJP and also a constituent of the NDA. On January 2nd, 4 more Congress MLAs resigned, taking the tally up to 9. The MLAs will join the BJP-ally NPP at a rally in the Polo Ground in Shillong today. PTI quoted Rowell Lyngdoh, the former deputy chief minister, as saying. Lyngdoh said the decision to quit the grand old party was a difficult one but he was forced to take the step as Sangmas “autocratic style of functioning” had made it difficult for him and the others to function in the government. Meanwhile, A L Hek, senior Congress Minister and 3 others joined the BJP on January 2nd, giving a boost to the BJP in the state. The resignation of these heavy-weight politicians is bound to hit the ruling party hard.
The resignations of sitting Meghalaya Congress MLAs have begun ever since PM Narendra Modi addressed a huge public gathering in Shillong on the 16th of December last year.
In the 2013 Meghalaya Assembly elections, the Congress won 30 seats out of 60. It had 50% of the Assembly under its command. The numbers have ever since thinned, and the recent 9 resignations have left the Congress led government with mere 23 seats. The Congress in Meghalaya is hoping to overcome an anti-incumbency factor of 15 long years.
Rattled by the events, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on 30th December removed DD Lapang, former Chief Minister as the Meghalaya unit president and replaced him with Celestine Lyngdoh. The replacement has not yet succeeded in restricting members of the Congress from jumping ship. The NPP is the major winner due to the recent events, especially in Khasi and Jaintia Hills. The BJP can now be considered to be in a superior position. However, the lies about Beef Ban, GST and Demonetization are expected to hinder the BJPs progress. Having said that, the Congress faces very tough competition this time. It hasn’t faced a competition of this nature in the state ever.
For the congress, the problems are many. The anti-incumbency of 3 terms is the single biggest roadblock in their path. difficult to overcome. Citizens are distressed over the way the government has been functioning. Projects take forever to complete. Roads are fixed only before elections. Corruption is deep-rooted. Bulk of governments focus is in and around Shillong, while the rural areas continue to languish in poverty.
All in all, the Grand Old Party is in dire straits, but it seems that the party has failed to see the writing on the wall. Many political analysts have predicted a hung assembly in the upcoming election, a sentiment echoed by many citizens too. About a month back, I too expect a broken mandate, with no clear winner. However, the chances of BJP-NPP forming a government are now far more than a Congress led government.