Shillong, Meghalaya: The Meghalaya Congress’s unprecedented move to offer “issue-based support” to the state’s BJP-Conrad Sangma alliance has been called out by Trinamool Congress. “A great betrayal” was how the state’s former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma – who recently joined Trinamool – termed the offer by the Congress, which is also the main opposition party nationally.
The Congress, weakened after 17 of its MLAs, led by Mukul Sangma joined the Trinamool Congress, has admitted to its “identity in that opposition is already very blurred and confusing”. On Friday, after a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party, the remaining five MLAs of the party went and met Chief Minister Conrad Sangma in a move that somewhat blurred lines between the government and the opposition.
Senior Congress leader Manish Tewari, who is the party’s Meghalaya in-charge, said, “The Congress will remain and play the role of the opposition. The offer of support is on issues of development for the state”.
“It is a reflection of the fact that the Congress in the state of Meghalaya is in complete disarray… they are victims full of confusion,” said Mr Sangma, who had joined the Trinamool Congress with his supporters in a huge coup for the ruling party of Bengal.
“By associating with the ruling National People’s Party, which is an NDA partner, and offering issue-based support to the government where BJP is a partner, the Congress has taken a position which is a great betrayal to the opposition,” he added.
The move was ridiculed by Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too, who tweeted, “Congress and BJP part of same government in Meghalaya?”
After Friday’s meeting, Ampareen Lyngdoh, the leader of the Congress Legislature Party, said this will be “a support on the issues that concern the general public and where the government and opposition both need to work closely to solve them”.
“We will see how this offer that we gave the government works out but our identity in that opposition is already very blurred and confusing. We don’t even know if we will have to re-look into so many positions in the opposition that now might go vacant,” the CLP leader said.
The Congress has sought the disqualification of Mukul Sangma and the group of MLAs that joined the Trinamool and the decision is pending with the Speaker.
But Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh, who is examining the letters of the 12 MLAs and that of senior Trinamool leader Abhishek Banerjee — informing him of their acceptance in the party — is yet to give his verdict.
In case the Speaker refuses to disqualify them, the Trinamool to the position of the principal opposition party in the state and the Congress will be reduced to a marginal player in the state assembly.
The Congress had bagged 21 seats in the 60-member Assembly after the 2018 polls. Before Mukul Sangma’s desertion, three of the MLAs died and one joined the NPP.