Late night coup in Meghalaya; Mukul Sangma among 12 Congress MLAs who are now in TMC
Mukul Sangma is the seventh former Congress chief minister to part ways from the Grand Old Party in the last few years
The Congress party suffered a major setback in Meghalaya when, in a late-night coup, 12 out of the 17 MLAs quit the party and joined the Trinamool Congress. The Congress, which was the single largest party in the state for the last three years, today finds itself as the smallest in the state.
Among those who deserted the Congress are senior leaders like Mukul Sangma who updated Meghalaya assembly Speaker Metbah Lyngdoh around 10 pm on Wednesday about their change of party status. The MLAs are expected to do a media briefing on Thursday.
Mukul Sangma is the seventh former Congress chief minister to part ways from the Grand Old Party in the last few years. Prior to Sangma, former Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh left the party and is now set to launch his own political outfit to take on the Congress in next year's assembly elections. Other former chief ministers to leave the Congress include Narayan Rane (Maharashtra), late Ajit Jogi (Chhattisgarh), S M Krishna (Karnataka), Vijay Bahuguna (Uttarakhand) and Giridhar Gamang (Odisha).
In the 2018 assembly elections, the Congress had emerged as the single largest party. It won 21 seats in the 60-member state assembly followed by Conrad Sangma's National People’s Party (19 seats) and the BJP (two). But the NPP managed to form a government. The state will next go to the polls in 2023.
The development is the latest in the strings of resignations from the party. And the destination, in most cases, is Mamata Banerjee's TMC. On Tuesday, Congress leaders Kirti Azad and Ashok Tanwar joined the Trinamool Congress in New Delhi in the presence of the West Bengal Chief Minister. In the past, late President Pranab Mukherjee's son Abhijit Mukherjee and Silchar MP Sushmita Dev too packed their bags and left for TMC.
At the same time, relations between the TMC and the Congress do not seem to be seeing the best days. Mamata, who has met the Gandhis every time she visits the capital, lashed out at reporters when they asked her why she had not met the Congress chief yet during her current visit.