No threat to Congress govt

BJP unlikely to find support from regional parties in Meghalaya

From CK Nayak

New Delhi: The Opposition parties’ hopes of toppling the Congress government in Meghalaya in the wake of the fall of the previous Congress government in Arunachal Pradesh might just remain “wishful thinking” considering their intense inner contradictions and sharp ideological differences.The regional parties despite forming an alliance in the Assembly had fought against each other in previous elections.
Sharp division continues among the regional parties like the HSPDP, UDP, KHNAM and NPP despite a façade of alliance in the Assembly, leaders of the Congress party here feel.
While the first three parties are based out of Khasi Hill, the NPP is limited to Garo Hills only due to which these small regional parties often peruse rabid regionalism even within the State.
Moreover, BJP does not have even a single MLA in the Assembly unlike in the past, which was not the case in Arunachal. The local leaders of the national party do not pull on well with the regional parties either.
BJP won a few seats in the Garo Hills and Khasi Jaintia Hills in some local elections. “But these sporadic wins are just flukes,” the Congress leaders said.
Secondly, the independents who could have played a key role would not like to leave Congress and join a BJP sponsored alliance in a Christian dominated State. They have to face Assembly polls two years hence and that too might be without the support of any major party.The only ray of hope for the Opposition is the fall of the Congress government through division and dissatisfaction from within the party. But not more than one-fourth of Congress MLAs will join an Opposition led alliance even in worst case scenario, they feel.The Opposition also lacks a charismatic leader in Meghalaya who could bring all the regional parties together and oust the Congress.    “The bottom line is that the BJP even after probable win in the Assam polls may not be able to overthrow the Congress government in Meghalaya and form one with regional parties as was done in case of Arunachal Pradesh,” said an analyst on condition of anonymity.
It is not the first time that the BJP has predicted fall of the Congress government in Meghalaya. They have made several ‘behind the scene’ attempts to engineer the collapse of the Congress government but in vain.
Once bitten twice shy, the AICC is now trying to strike a balance among different factions of the party.
After ignoring the dissidents in both Arunachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand and paying heavy price for it the Congress high command now lends ears to one and all in the party.
Preventive steps are also taken not to push either the ruling or the dissident faction to the wall.
That is one of the reasons why Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has not got clearance for a much needed reshuffle of his three-year-old ministry.
MPCC president D.D. Lapang has also been dissuaded from taking harsh action against some of the party MLAs and leaders. On the other hand, he has been advised to carry along everyone and keep the party united for the next battle.
Emergence of Lok Sabha member from Shillong, Vincent H. Pala, has also made a difference in the AICC whose office bearers are able to consult him as and when they need in the national capital.
Pala, though known to be a dissident, is also acting as a bridge between the State unit and the AICC mainly in his second stint.
Speculations were rife in the politically sensitive State after BJP leader Kohli’s assertion that “Mukul Sangma-led Congress government may collapse under its own weight due to ‘non-performance’ and ‘internal bickering.” The opposition parties quickly took up the signal and asserted that the Congress
government’s days are numbered.
Given the overall scenario, Meghalaya might witness political upheaval after the Assam polls and Tura by-election. But a fall of the Congress government and emergence of a combined opposition looks remote in the near future, the observers conclude.

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