Shillong, June 21: With the battle between “consensus” and “conscience” gaining momentum, Meghalaya chief minister Mukul M. Sangma today termed former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma a failure in state politics.
A day after his bÍte noire resigned from the primary membership of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and also as a member of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, the chief minister was scathing in his remarks against his former leader.
“It is a complete reflection of his frustration because he has failed in state politics. He has failed as an MLA, and therefore, it is reflected in his action,” the chief minister said before leaving for New Delhi.
When asked whether the state legislators would support P.A. Sangma’s candidature considering that he is from Garo hills, Mukul shot back by asking: “Can you ever show me any area of his contribution where it has been able to make a difference in the lives of the poor tribals?”
Mukul Sangma, who represents Ampati in West Garo Hills, also said: “Forget about the whole country, look at his own constituency where the entire Garo hills region is in such a mess. Forget about the whole of Garo hills. Go to his village and his wife’s village and try to find out what exactly he has contributed.
“He has had a long innings in politics with so many privileges of having been in power. He also held positions from where he could have done so much and made a difference to the lives of the people, particularly those in whose name he is claiming that he is a candidate,” the chief minister said.
Mukul Sangma was not the only one criticising the former Lok Sabha Speaker.
The general secretary of Arunachal PCC, T.C. Tok, said P.A. Sangma’s decision to run for the coveted post was really unfortunate and that the biggest loser would be his daughter Agatha, a Union minister of state. “It (his contesting) will be detrimental to the interests of the tribal community because he is taking the support of the BJP. Since he is a tribal leader, he should have led the community in the right direction. He will lose because of his wrong policies but the bigger loser will be his daughter Agatha.
The state unit of the NCP, while keeping its cards close to its chest, said all party legislators, members of the district councils and workers would be meeting here on Saturday evening to take stock of the situation following the resignation of their founder leader.
Meghalaya NCP president W. Kharlukhi told this correspondent that the extended executive committee of the party would deliberate on the latest development before taking any decision.
The NCP is backing Pranab Mukherjee at the national level.
P.A. Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker hailing from Chapathi village in West Garo Hills became the chief minister of the state for the first time in 1988 soon after the elections. As a Congress stalwart, he had led the United Meghalaya Parliamentary Forum (UMPF) government. However, his government lasted a mere two years from February 6, 1988 to March 25, 1990.
Sangma was replaced by another veteran politician, B.B. Lyngdoh, who led the Meghalaya United Parliamentary Party (MUPP) government from March 26, 1990 till October 10, 1991 before President’s rule was imposed.
Sangma’s foray into electoral politics began in 1977 when he contested the Lok Sabha elections in 1977 from Tura on a Congress ticket. He emerged victorious by bagging 40,288 while Moody K. Marak of then All Party Hill Leaders Conference (APHLC) secured the second position with 26,254 votes.
P.A. Sangma also went on to win the Lok Sabha elections in 1984, 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, and 2004 besides the byelection in 2006. In 2004, he contested as a candidate of the All India Trinamul Congress (AITC).
After returning to state politics in 2008, he vacated the Tura parliamentary seat for his daughter Agatha K. Sangma, who contested and won the Lok Sabha elections in 2009.
In the 2008 Assembly polls, the Sangma family created history of sorts. Besides Sangma, his two sons — James Pangsang Kongkal Sangma and Conrad Kongkal Sangma were elected to the eighth Legislative Assembly.
While P.A. Sangma was elected from Tura constituency, James and Conrad won from Rongchugiri and Selsella respectively.