Shillong, March 4: Congress leader Mukul Manda Sangma, seen as the architect of the Congress’s victory in Meghalaya, will be sworn in as chief minister of the northeastern state for the second time Tuesday.
In the recently concluded assembly elections, the Congress emerged the largest party with 29 seats — two short of the majority in the 60-member house. The Nationalist Congress Party which secured two seats and 11 Independent legislators have extended “unconditional support” to the Congress.
Sangma, 47, would take oath alone and will finalise his council of ministers later this week after consultation with Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
“I have been directed by madam (Gandhi) to take oath alone and will expand the ministry after further consultation with my party high command,” Sangma told IANS on his return here from New Delhi.
Congress sources said Sangma is likely to re-induct most of the ministers in the previous Congress coalition government.
On Friday, Governor R.S. Mooshahary invited Sangma to form the government after he was formally elected as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party.
Party sources said Gandhi endorsed Sangma’s name as the CLP leader for the impressive wins in the Garo Hills region, considered the stronghold of her bete noire, former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A. Sangma.
The Congress has won 13 of the 24 seats in Garo Hills districts, while the “tribal-centric” National People’s Party founded by P.A. Sangma managed only two.
James Sangma, the eldest son of the former Lok Sabha speaker, and Nihim D. Shira were the only NPP candidates who managed to win.
In 2008, the Congress won seven seats in the Garo Hills, while the NCP, under Purno Sangma’s leadership, won 15 seats in the state, including 13 in the Garo Hills.