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Meghalaya Assembly Elections: Is Trinamool Congress set to get its next turf after West Bengal?

Mamata Banerjee’s party has emerged as the main challenger to the National People's Party (NPP)
Last Updated : 04 February 2023, 06:44 IST
Last Updated : 04 February 2023, 06:44 IST
Last Updated : 04 February 2023, 06:44 IST
Last Updated : 04 February 2023, 06:44 IST

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Credit: DH Graphic
Credit: DH Graphic
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The Trinamool Congress wants to achieve in Meghalaya what it couldn’t in Goa.

With former chief minister, Mukul Sangma, and almost all other prominent leaders of the Congress in Meghalaya now with the Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee’s party has emerged as the main challenger to the National People's Party (NPP), which has been leading the ruling coalition in the state. “In Goa, we did not have strong leaders, but here (in Meghalaya), we have,” West Bengal Chief Minister said in Shillong on January 13. "Trinamool is the only credible alternative to the proxy-BJP government in Meghalaya.”

With just two MLAs, the BJP has been a minor ally of the ruling NPP, which is led by Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma. The two parties are contesting the elections separately this time, in all the 60 constituencies of the state.

The TMC did not win a single seat in the 2018 assembly elections in Meghalaya. But it suddenly became the principal opposition party in November 2021 when 12 of the 17 Congress MLAs, led by Mukul Sangma, joined it, brightening its prospect of having its first government beyond West Bengal.

The TMC has been not only projecting the local leaders in Meghalaya in order to shed the tag of the party of West Bengal, but also focussing on sensitive issues like state’s border conflicts with neighbouring Assam, the demand for Inner Line Permit and inclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

The NPP, on the other hand, is focussing on its development works since 2018 and repeatedly trying to tag the TMC as an "outsider" in Meghalaya. "They (the TMC leaders) called the BJP outsider ahead of the 2021 assembly elections in West Bengal. Similarly, they themselves are also outsiders in Meghalaya,” Conrad K Sangma said. The TMC countered, promising its government, unlike the one led by Conrad Sangma, would be run by "sons and daughters of Meghalaya” and not by the BJP leaders from Guwahati and Delhi.

The NPP has set a target to attain absolute majority in the state assembly on its own this time. The BJP is focussing on the constituencies where the NPP is weak. This is helping divide the anti-NPP votes, which otherwise would go to the TMC.

The Congress, which had emerged as the single largest party with 21 seats in 2018, is now left with very few experienced leaders and is struggling to remain in the race.

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Published 03 February 2023, 18:53 IST

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