In Meghalaya, former Lok Sabha speaker Purno Sangma, a staunch Congressman till he formed the NCP with Sharad Pawar, is putting his entire political prestige on the line by taking on the Congress.
Electoral politics is so fragmented in Meghalaya that no single party has been able to get more than 25 seats since 1993 in the 60-member house. The focus of the battle is the 24-seat Garo Hills, a former Congress borough. But this time, with Sangma leading the NCP charge, things could be different.
In Nagaland, which has seen five years of Congress rule, it is Hokishe Sema—a former Congress CM now with the BJP—who is leading the Opposition front. This coalition also has the tacit support of the NSCN(I-M), which is engaged in a dialogue with the Centre. According to T. Therie, veteran leader of the Naga People’s Front, the idea is "to remove the (S.C. Jamir) government which is standing in the way of a resolution".