Conrad Sangma-Kharge lock horns over northeast polls

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"We want the NPP to take the initiative and the BJP will provide full cooperation". We spoke to senior BJP leader Nalin Kohli in Shillong on the formation of new government.

Hours after the NPP-led coalition staked claim to form the government, Tourism Minister KJ Alphons told News18 that the BJP's priority was to ensure that the Congress lost in the North East.

According to power sharing formula, UDP leader and former chief minister Donkupar Roy is likely to be the new Speaker of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

40-year-old Conard Sangma will be heading a five-party coalition, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in the northeastern state. BJP's performance, netting over 15% of the vote in Nagaland and almost 10% in Meghalaya, also reveals that toning down its Hindutva agenda in the north-east earned traction with voters.

Former Congress President Sonia Gandhi's political secretary Ahmed Patel had rushed to Shillong on Saturday, along with former minister Kamal Nath, to attract the very three regional parties that chose to go with NPP along with some independents. Following which the NPP got support from United Democratic Party (UDP), People's Democratic Front (PDF), Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) and the BJP and an independent.

NDPP leader and three-time chief minister Neiphiu Rio also said that the alliance is in a comfortable position to form the government. Union Minister and BJP Karnataka poll in-charge Prakash Javadekar has said that the impact of the BJP victory in the north-east will be felt in the upcoming Karnataka Assembly polls as well. "It is the job of the alliance to decide who should lead the government", he said.

The NPP won 19 seats, the UDP secured six seats while its alliance partner the HSPDP got two seats.

Congratulating Sangma, Rajnath Singh said BJP's alliance with local parties and forming the government will change the perception that only Congress can survive in the northeast. On Saturday, Meghalaya threw up a fractured mandate. where the Congress party retained its hold with 21 seats, while the NPP bagged 19 seats.

Sangma on Wednesday allotted portfolios to the newly inducted ministers, while keeping a few to himself including finance, personnel, planning.