The three main regional parties have appeared to walk the talk so far by reportedly agreeing to form a coalition to constitute the next executive committee (EC) in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC). The parties, although failed to broker a pre-poll pact, promised to go for post-poll alliance to prevent Congress to form the EC. In that case, Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) chief and five-time chief minister DD Lapang’s claim that his party would retain power in the KHADC prove hollow. But, no one knows what Congress is capable of. The scene was worse for the party in the last district council election in Khasi Hills. It won only eight seats, two less than the present tally. Not surprising though, the life line of horse trading saw Congress in power then. A few United Democratic Party (UDP) representatives donned the Congress cap without any hesitation, thanks to the absence of anti-defection law in the autonomous district councils (ADCs) formed under the Sixth Schedule of Constitution.
Although Congress has failed to win the magic figure of 16 in Jaintia Hills Autonomous District Council (JHADC) too, the party needs just two more elected members to form the EC. The party needs to win over just two independents, who will happily join at a ‘lower price’. On the other hand, a non-Congress alliance is highly unlikely since UDP (6) will have to pay much bigger price to win over nine Independent members of district council (MDCs). Here is the difference between a national party like Congress and regional parties. Congress did the charisma in KHADC in the previous EC.
The UDP chief Donkupar Roy recently declared that his party will never ally with the Congress in future, come what may. Roy, who was a deputy chief minister during the previous Congress-UDP coalition government, however, admitted that the party had ‘compulsions’ to hold alliance with Congress in the past. In case of ‘compulsion’ raising its ugly head again, the Congress will still have the last in the KHADC. The regional parties are so far committed to their strategy for post-poll alliance. It remains to be seen if they can create history by surviving the next five years.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on March 1, 2014)