By Shreya Maskara
The first non-Congress government was established in Meghalaya in 15 years, with the swearing-in ceremony of the National People’s Party (NPP) chief Conrad Sangma earlier last week. Meanwhile, polling finished in Karnataka on Saturday, while both parties wait with bated breath about the results.
NPP chief Sangma took charge as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya on May 9, thereby establishing the first non-Congress government in the state in 15 years. The ceremony was presided over by Governor Ganga Prasad in Shillong. Union home minister Rajnath Singh, Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP president Amit Shah, and the national spokesperson Nalin Kohli, were also present at the ceremony.
Congress, despite being the single largest party in the state, failed to secure their government in Meghalaya. Sangma established his government with the support of 34 MLAs, two from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), 19 from the NPP, six from the United Democratic Party (UDP), four from the People’s Democratic Front (PDF), two from the Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP), and one Independent.
Polling ended in Karnataka for the Assembly elections on May 12 with a voter turnout of 72.13%. Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar said the turnout broke all previous records, and is the highest since the state polls in 1952. Kumar added that in the run-up to the polls, over Rs 94-crore cash was seized, along with liquor worth Rs. 24.78 crores, as well as vehicles and electronic gadgets worth Rs 66 crores.
Exit poll results from the two agencies with the best record, Axis and Chanakya, predict a split verdict. While Axis predicts Congress will get between 106-118 seats, Chanakya predicts a BJP win with 120 seats.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed his confidence that the Congress would retain their power in the elections. Siddaramaiah added that this election will be his last. Meanwhile, BJP president Amit Shah said “the BJP will form the government in Karnataka on 15 May evening after the results,” while addressing a crowd of workers near Panaji.
Karnataka has an electorate of over 4.97 crores, and the votes will be counted on May 15.
Sharad Yadav, the socialist leader speaking to PTI-Bhasha, said that he thinks a third front will not emerge before the 2019 elections, and suggested that all Opposition parties should join forces to fight against the ruling BJP. “Wait for some time, the people trying to form a third front will themselves start talking about a united Opposition,” he said.
Yadav is of the opinion that the only way to overthrow the BJP government is through a united Opposition. He claimed that he has been in regular communication with all parties, and is confident that he will be able to unite them when necessary.
“I am satisfied with the success achieved in uniting all parties and organisations on the platform of a ‘shared legacy’ to bring India out of the trouble the Modi government has pushed it into,” he said.
Shreya Maskara is a senior copy editor at Qrius.