19 July 2019 9:08 AM GMT
New Delhi : National People's Party chief Conrad Sangma on Tuesday took oath as the 12th chief minister of Meghalaya despite alliance partner Hill State People's Democratic Party's reservation in forming the government with the BJP.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh and BJP president Amit Shah were present at the swearing-in ceremony of Sangma and others in state capital Shillong.
The 40-year-old Conrad lost the support of the Hill State People's Democratic Party, which has two MLAs, a day before being sworn in as the chief minister. But it won't affect his chances of becoming the chief minister because he still has the support of 32 MLAs in the 60-member assembly.
The Bharatiya Janata Party played a pivotal role in stitching up a mega alliance and secure the support of 34 legislators to form the next government. It won two seats in the hill state.
The ruling alliance will be headed by the National People's Party with 19 seats, and comprise the United Democratic Party (6 seats), People's Democratic Front (4 seats), Bharatiya Janata Party (2 seats) and one Independent.
The Hill State People's Democratic Party said on Monday it opposed Sangma as the chief minister because "he is not an elected MLA" as well as the BJP being a part of the coalition government.
The state is abuzz with talk of cabinet berth allotment and how Sangma would give representation to regional allies. The BJP's northeast strategist Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Sunday there would not be a deputy CM in the government.
Sangma, who likes to read and listen to music among other things, entered the Meghalaya political scene in 2008 as a Nationalist Congress Party candidate from Selsella seat. He is the youngest son of former Meghalaya chief minister and former Lok Sabha speaker PA Sangma.
He was the cabinet minister for finance, power and tourism in the government led by United Democratic Party from 2008 till 2009, when it was reduced to a minority and President's Rule imposed.
From 2009 till 2013, Conrad was the leader of opposition in the 60-member Meghalaya assembly. He failed to win the support of voters in 2013, losing to Congress's Clement Marak from Selsella by a margin of over 2,000 votes.
He returned to electoral politics in 2016, when the Tura Lok Sabha seat fell vacant following the sudden death of his father due to a heart attack.
Conrad, who took over the reins of the party founded by his father in 2012, defeated Congress chief minister Mukul Sangma's wife Dikkannchi Shira, by a margin of over 1.92 lakh votes.