The National People’s Party (NPP) is set to head a coalition government for the second successive term in Meghalaya.
The party led by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma won 26 of the 59 Assembly constituencies where elections were held, seven more than it bagged in 2018. The State Assembly has 60 seats.
Voting in the Sohiong constituency was deferred after the death of H.D.R. Lyngdoh, the candidate of the United Democratic Party (UDP), which also improved upon its performance five years ago.
The UDP won 11 seats, five more than in 2018.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Mr. Sangma had called up Home Minister Amit Shah and sought the BJP’s support. The BJP won two seats, same as in 2018.
“J.P. Nadda, our national president, has advised the Meghalaya BJP unit to support the NPP in forming the government,” Mr. Sarma said on Thursday.
Mr. Sangma, however, hinted at having fewer parties on board this time. The outgoing alliance government he heads has five parties apart from the NPP. They include the UDP and BJP.
“I thank the people of Meghalaya for having voted for our party. But we are short of the majority mark. We will discuss with like-minded parties and decide how to go forward,” he told journalists after winning the South Tura constituency.
UDP president and Assembly Speaker, Metbah Lyngdoh, said he was happy that the party ended up close to the expected number of seats. But he chose not to speak on the alliance.
The NPP and UDP have enough seats — 36 between them — to form the government but keeping the BJP in good humour matters to small northeastern States that are largely dependent on the Centre for funds.
While the NPP is a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, the UDP exited the BJP-helmed North East Democratic Alliance in 2019 over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The UDP had prior to the polls said it would not be in any alliance if it was headed by the BJP.