In hindsight, one of chief minister Mukul M. Sangma’s most important decisions in his political career was perhaps to sever ties with his mentor Purno Agitok Sangma in 1999 when the senior Sangma quit the Congress to form the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) along with Sharad Pawar.
First elected as an Independent from Ampatigiri in South West Garo Hills in the 1993 Assembly polls, Mukul quickly aligned himself with the Congress and was elected the party’s nominee in the 1998 election.
Since then, there has been no looking back for him as he swiftly outwitted the other contenders like former chief minister Salseng C. Marak.
Mukul, 46, has also been attempting to establish himself as a leader in the Garo hills after Purno Sangma who still holds sway at the grassroots.
In April 2010, while he was still a deputy chief minister under Donwa Dethwelson Lapang, Mukul was chosen to lead the Congress Legislature Party (CLP), making him the youngest chief minister in the state.
In this election, Mukul has been negotiating the nooks and corners of the state on a helicopter to campaign hard for the Congress. His aim is to make the Congress win with an absolute majority.
But with infighting and complete divisiveness within the party, it is unsure whether the medical professional can fulfil his dream.
His political astuteness will definitely be tested, as he will have to ensure that most of his loyalists, from among the 60 Congress candidates, will be voted to power to ease the cumbersome process of retaining the chief minister’s post.
Mukul will also be seeking a fifth straight win in February 2013, but he will have to fight a bigger battle to consolidate his position as the CLP leader.
His detractors from within the Congress will surely take every step to scuttle his ambition of retaining the chief minister’s office.
It is a known fact that governments in Meghalaya are toppled not by outside forces but by those living under the same roof. Sun-tzu, the Chinese general and military strategist, is known to have said, “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer”.
Surely this maxim will stand Mukul Sangma in good stead in the days to come.