05 March, 2021

The Khasi Coup

Lyngdoh plays the tribal card to win, but perhaps temporarily

The Khasi Coup

MEGHALAYA presents a curious mirror image of the situation at New Delhi—inverted and miniaturised.The same vertical split in the House, the same wafer-thin majority, the same ambivalence. Even the BJP figures here—it made a stunning debut by winning three assembly seats. But, in a role reversal, it plays one of the small fringe groups whose leaning makes the crucial difference in a hum-dinger. The key protagonist is more familiar: Brington Buhai Lyngdoh, the grand old man of Khasi politics, who has staged a comeback after 15 years.

The loser, as of now, is S.C. Marak of the Congress, who went into this election after five years as chief minister. He was sworn in chief minister this time as well—on February 28—but stepped down on March 10 after his party's candidate for the Speaker's post lost the election by a single vote. Hours after Marak quit, Governor M.M. Jacob asked Lyngdoh, leader of the United Democratic Party (UDP), to take over. The Congress could get only 25 seats while the Opposition UDP, a motley collection of regional...

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