It is no surprise that the outcome of the 2018 general election to the Meghalaya state assembly is a fractured mandate which necessitate the formation of a coalition government in the state. It is also not a surprise that Dr Mukul Sangma won both the seats he had contested but what is more surprising is that almost all his family member who contested; have won the election.
This is a clear indication of the kind of politics that this election brought to the fore. We not only see the rising of the two Sangma dynasties from Garo hills in Meghalaya politics; but there is also the Dhar family who have won three out of four seats they have contested. And of course the father-son duo David Nongrum and Charles Pyngrope is another dynasty is the making.
This is a cause of concern for a small state like Meghalaya which has a house of a total membership of 60 only. The point is, if this trend continued then this small state will one day be in the control of few influential families only.
The fact that we now have increasing numbers of families who also have business interest in the assembly is another reason to worry and part from that; we also see that many candidates with business background were elected in this particular term of the house. Will this be good or bad for the state; we will have to wait for another five years to get the answer and we are only on the second day of the five years term.
It may not be out of place to say that the assembly 2018- 23 is going to be quieter this time around because most of the MLAs who are also good debaters have lost the election. Paul Lyngdoh, Ardent Basaiawmoit, Jemino Mawthoh and the former Congress MLA PN Syiem were legislators who often brought the house to life who lost the last election.
The defeat of the four political stalwarts is great loss for the state and it was a shock of a life time for those who avidly follow the proceedings in the august house.
Post-election result, the UDP and its major ally HSPDP became the most sought after party for Congress, which emerged as single largest party with 21 seats and NPP, which emerged as second single largest party with 19 seats, in the government formation.
For at least two days after the result was declared; the residence of Dr Donkupar Roy; the leader of the UDP became the most popular address in the state.
Immediately after the result was announced the Congress by virtue of being the singles larges party went to meet Dr Donkupar Roy and offered him the post of Chief Minister if he is willing to join the Congress-led government. Obviously the meeting did not went that well and the UDP chose to support the NPP led coalition government and the other regional parties also support the UDP’s move.
The regional combine which comprises of the UDP, HSPDP, KHNAM and PDF which have the total strength of 13 MLAs; can be a force to reckon with, but the group failed to think collectively and exert its influence in the making of the government.
In the post-election result scenario; the consortium of regional parties was in a unique position of the king maker. The government will be with whichever side the regional parties decide to lend their support. The party be it the Congress or the NPP-BJP alliance are at the consortium’s beg and call if they would have wield their influence, but the regional parties (as usual) always play second fiddle in the power game.
The point is the coalition could also go the other way where Congress party (21) along with the consortium of regional parties (13) form a coalition government and of course this is another coalition in the anvil if the NPP-BJP led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance collapse in the future.
Meghalaya has history of coalition government in the past too, but these governments do not last long. The only glue that binds the coalition together now is the NDA government at the centre.
It is a known fact that the state is in a financial mess, so the need of the hour is to have a coalition government which have the sympathy of government at the centre. The goal of the present arrangement is only to replenish the almost empty state coffer first.
Five years is a long time in politics, one will have to wait and see how MDA government will fair in few months’ time or; with altogether 13 coalition partners the government will fall of its own weight.