As Meghalaya voters returned a hung Assembly on Saturday, senior leaders of both Congress and BJP are wooing the independent candidates as they scramble for allies to reach the magic figure of 31.
The Congress, which has emerged as the single largest party in the state with 21 seats in the 60-member house, 10 shorts of the 31 seats needed to retain power has dispatched senior leaders Ahmed Patel and Kamala Nath to ensure that they retain power in the state.
While, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has won just two seats has given deputy Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma the responsibility to ensure that the state is snatched away from Congress.
Talking to the media, Ahmed Patel said that being the single largest party, Congress has the right to stake claim to form government in the state as he blamed the BJP of indulging in horse-trading.
“They just have two seats here, what is he (Sarma) doing here? He has come to create trouble and indulge in horse trading,” Patel said.
However, Sarma who is BJP’s key strategist for Northeast said being the single-largest party was no criterion to form government and that regional parties should join hands to keep Congress out of power.
The National People’s Party (NPP) — an ally of the BJP at the Centre, Rajasthan and Manipur — emerged as the second largest party with 19 seats and is likely to join hands with the non-Congress parties.
The United Democratic Party (UDP), which is part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), has won six seats and the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) has won two seats. The UDP and HSPDP have a pre-poll alliance.
The newly floated People’s Democratic Front (PDF) won four seats while the BJP bagged two seats and the NCP and KHNAM one seat each, besides three independents.