Meghalaya on Thursday helped the Congress improve its tally while backing its allies in the outgoing government. Its voters also told former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Agitok Sangma that his time was up.
The Congress led the table with 29 out of a maximum 60 seats, falling short of
the simple majority mark of 31. Its regional allies in the Meghalaya United Alliance government - the United Democratic Party (UDP) and Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) - won eight and four seats, respectively.
The Congress is expected to continue with its alliance with the UDP and HSPDP under chief minister Mukul M Sangma, who won the Ampatti seat defeating his nearest rival Clement G Momin of National People's Party (NPP) by 7,023 votes.
Purno Sangma had 'acquired' the NPP, essentially a tribe-specific party of Manipur, and launched it as an alternative to the Congress in Meghalaya.
Though he did not contest this election, he fielded 35 candidates. Only two of them won, and among the losers was his younger son Conrad K Sangma.
The results have also pointed to Mukul Sangma's growing influence among the Garos.
"We have been given a mandate to take the state towards progress. We hope not to let the people down," the chief minister said from state capital Shillong.