Shillong, Feb. 25: Elections are the time for mudslinging. All the contributions a person makes to the party and the people are forgotten. Especially when the person is contesting from a different party.
P.A. Sangma, former Congress veteran and now the chief ministerial candidate of the NCP, is facing severe criticism from his former party, the Congress, especially the MP from Shillong.
Union tribal affairs minister P.R. Kyndiah today termed Sangma’s leaving the Congress as not just “a Meghalayan blunder, but a Himalayan blunder”.
Tracing the genesis of the rift, Kyndiah said: “He (Sangma), along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar, left the Congress and formed the NCP in 1999 on the foreign origin issue of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.”
Comparing Sonia and Sangma, Kyndiah said while Sonia could catapult the party to form the Congress-led UPA government, Sangma’s NCP could not make any impact in the Lok Sabha elections.
“Though the NCP is supposed to have a significant presence in all the northeastern states, the reality is that the presence of NCP is limited only to Meghalaya. Sangma wanted to be the NCP chief, but was disallowed by the NCP president, Pawar. This compelled Sangma to join Nationalist Trinamul Congress (NTC),” Kyndiah said.
Sangma contested the general elections in 2004 on an NTC ticket. Though he won the seat, Sangma again returned to the NCP, Kyndiah recalled. “However, he was not given much importance in the NCP as he had deserted the party once,” Kyndiah said.
The Congress leader also pointed out that Sangma was once the tallest leader of the country in general and the Northeast in particular. “But ever since he joined the NCP, he no longer holds the same position,” he added.
Welcoming the decision of Sangma to come back to state politic, Kyndiah said, “He can play a proactive role while concentrating on state politics, even if he has to sit in the opposition,” Kyndiah said.
The All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge Meghalaya, Margaret Alva, also criticised Sangma for fielding at least six of his relatives in the elections. Sangma’s two sons, Conrad and James, are also contesting the elections.
More criticism came from Union parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi. Commenting on the influence of Sangma in Garo Hills, Das Munshi said Sangma should remember that the Gandhi family initiated the development in the Northeast and added that the Congress had nothing to do with Sangma as he could not have any impact in the elections.
Sangma was not available for comment. His son Conrad, however, said as the Congress was desperate, they wanted to make the wild allegations. “Let them worry about peoples’ issues and not about the personality of P.A. Sangma,” Conrad added.