ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Can the BJP Achieve a Congress-mukt Meghalaya?

In the months leading up to the February 2018 Meghalaya state legislative elections, the Mukul Sangma-led Congress government has been plagued by a mass exodus of its legislators to the National People’s Party and Bharatiya Janata Party. This article chronicles these defections and conflicts within the party, and the political advantage they afford the BJP in its push for a Congress-mukt Meghalaya.

The Congress gained its strong footing in Meghalaya only after the then Chief Minister Williamson A Sangma merged a faction of the All Party Hill Leaders Conference (APHLC), which enjoyed an absolute majority in the house, with the Congress in 1976 (Lyngdoh 2004: 105; Pakem 1992). Many believe that Sangma was unable to withstand the pressure he was facing at the hands of the Congress from New Delhi. The year 1976 was the time when Indira Gandhi ruled India with an iron fist (Frankel 1978). The people of Indiawitnessed many of her political opponents being imprisoned and some political parties banned altogether, with a determination to see all non-Congress governments in the states dismissed. Afraid of remaining the leader of only a small regional party, Sangma succumbed to political pressure and subsequently merged his party with the Congress. Following the merger, the APHLC was humiliated, until it ultimately disappeared from the political scene, whereas the influence of the Congress has been strengthened ever since. These events fuelled the Khasis’ (tribals of Meghalaya) dislike of the Congress party, and theytermed itka party dkhar (non-tribal party).

Congress Raj

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Updated On : 13th Feb, 2018

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