"My best wishes to this team as it begins work towards fulfilling the dreams and aspirations of the people of Meghalaya", the Prime Minister's tweet read. Governor Ganga Prasad administered the oath of office and secrecy to them at a grand swearing-in ceremony held at the forelawns of the Raj Bhawan here.
Among those who were sworn in includes Conrad Sangma's elder brother James Sangma besides three former Congress ministers - Prestone Tynsong, Comingone Ymbon and Sniawbhalang Dhar - who were elected to the Meghalaya Assembly as NPP members. Ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) is eyeing the deputy chief ministers' post. Having joined the government, the BJP's activities elsewhere will come under closer scrutiny and may impact the life of the coalition.
On Monday, Ardent Basaiawmoit, president of the HSPDP objected to Conard Sangma, a Lok Sabha member, being named to be the alliance's chief minister, without consulting all constituents. He was the leader of United Democratic Party (UDP), that is the most important constituent in the newly-installed and NPP-headed Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA).
While BJP won 2, NCP has 1, HSPDP has two seats and there are three Independents and one MLA belongs to a smaller party Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement. Since 1976, when the ruling APHLC faction in Meghalaya merged with Congress during Emergency, it is Congress which has largely ruled the state, often through coalition governments.
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Congratulating Sangma, Rajnath Singh said BJP's alliance with local parties and forming the government will change the perception that only Congress can survive in the northeast.
Despite speculations of alliance partner Hill State People's Democratic Party, which has two MLAs, not taking part in the ceremony, one legislator from the party Samlin Malngiang also took oath as minister. He later became the youngest finance minister of Meghalaya, under a UDP- led government.
In Meghalaya, the BJP had left it up to the regional parties to choose the CM candidate to prevent Congress from returning to power. Deb was unanimously elected the BJP Legislature Party (BJPLP) leader at a meeting here earlier in the day, Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who attended it as the party's central observer, told newsmen.