Congress largest party in Garo Hills mixed mandate

Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The election to the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC) in Meghalaya, dubbed as the semifinal of 2023 state polls, has thrown up a fractured mandate.

The Congress emerged as the single largest party, winning 12 of the 29 seats where elections were held on April 12. The National People’s Party (NPP), which heads the state’s ruling coalition, came a close second with 11 seats.

The BJP, an ally of the NPP, bagged two seats while the regional Garo National Council won one seat. Three seats went to Independent candidates.

The NPP had won 10 seats in 2015 and formed the council with members from other political parties who defected. They took advantage of the non-applicability of the anti-defection law in the state’s tribal councils.

The BJP was ecstatic after the surprise victory in the two seats. Party MLA, AL Hek, who is also a minister, said the party’s state in-charge Chuba Ao would sit with the elected members and decide the future course of action.

The GHADC has been mired in controversy following allegations of largescale corruption. The BJP had flagged the issue and demanded an independent probe but the government ordered a five-year audit of receipt of funds and expenditures.