Shillong: Meghalaya’s main opposition party Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) is all set to merge with the Manipur-based National People’s Party (NPP). Purno A Sangma, the defeated presidential candidate, will lead the merged outfit, party sources said.
In the 60-member House assembly, the NCP has 14 legislators, including suspended NCP legislator Adolf Lu Hitler R. Marak.
Marak and Deputy Speaker Sanbor Shullai will not be part of Sangma’s new political outfit.
Sangma’s daughter Agatha Sangma, a minister in the Congress-led UPA, will continue to be part of the NCP till 2014 to ensure that she does not lose her ministership at the Centre, Sangma’s aide said.
Sangma had earlier announced that he would launch a “tribal-centric” political party. Post-presidential poll debacle, Sangma’s annoucement here that he would join the NPP came as a new twist to his political ambitions.
“NPP is a political party which has existed for many years, with its headquarters in Manipur, with the amendment of the NPP constitution, the party now is a national party with headquarters at New Delhi,” Sangma explained to journalists.
The NPP drew a blank in the Manipur Assembly election this year. Its symbol is a book.
Sangma said the NPP will draw most of its members from the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a party he founded along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar in 1999 after breaking away from the Congress.
The tribal Garo strong man from Meghalaya was forced give up primary membership of the NCP after Pawar refused to endorse his presidential candidature. He also gave up his membership of the 60-member Meghalaya assembly.
However, thirteen NCP legislators in Meghalaya voted for Sangma in the presidential election, going against the party decision to support Pranab Mukherjee who is now the country’s president.
Hinting that thirteen NCP legislators would merge with the NPP Friday here in Meghalaya, Sangma said, “the anti-defection law does not attract disqualification of the NCP members if two-third of the NCP MLAs in Meghalaya merges with the NPP.”
“Under the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, the law is very clear and two-third of the members can merge with another party,” the former Lok Sabha Speaker said.