Agatha and James Sangma at the news conference in New Delhi on Monday. Picture by Ramakant Kushwaha
New Delhi, March 10: Purno A. Sangma is ready to contest from Tura once again.
The former Lok Sabha Speaker’s daughter and Union minister Agatha today announced that she has “stepped down”.
Sangma, who had announced that he was out of contesting elections, will be the National People’s Party (NPP)’s candidate from Tura in West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.
“I will not be contesting elections, I have decided to step down and will work for the party,” Agatha told reporters today.
The former NCP MP said she resigned from the party on March 7 and joined the NPP yesterday. She spoke highly of NCP chief Sharad Pawar and said she had a good stint at the Centre. But the Centre’s policies on the Northeast have failed to push development or improve law and order in the region, she added.
All through the new conference, the attempt was to iterate the NPP’s support to the BJP and the NDA and how the fledgling party was a part of the national alliance.
The NPP, revived by Sangma and Kirorilal Meena, “formally joined” the NDA on January 23 last year. Days before joining the NDA, Sangma was the first BJP ally to have proposed Modi’s candidature as Prime Minister.
The NPP leaders stressed that the BJP also wanted Sangma back in active politics in the light of his stature as a leader from the Northeast and because of the deteriorating law and order situation in Meghalaya under the Congress administration.
“We have proposed to contest nine seats. The BJP has accepted Sangma’s candidature from Tura,” said Agatha. The NPP wants to field candidates from two seats each in Rajasthan, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh and one seat each from Chhattisgarh and West Bengal. The NPP is targeting the indigenous voters in these states. Unsure about the status of these eight other seats, NPP leader Alok Goel said the party was still in talks with the BJP on how many seats it could concede.
Agatha said Sangma had to return in order to give Parliament a face from the Northeast who could “assert”.
“In Shillong, we will support the non-Congress consensus candidate,” said Agatha.
Purno Sangma was not present at the news conference that was chaired by Agatha, assisted by her brother James at her official residence here.
The siblings justified the return of their father to active politics, which he had given up after his defeat at the presidential polls.
Coming down heavily on chief minister Mukul Sangma, the NPP leaders said the chief minister was “proven” to be hand-in-glove with militant outfit A’chik National Volunteers Council (Breakaway).
Citing a letter written by ANVC (B) political secretary, Ajaju R. Marak, Agatha said they had taken up the issue with none other than the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and made a presentation to home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde. “There was no response,” said Agatha.
Marak has allegedly written to Mukul Sangma reminding him that ANVC (B) had called up MLAs in the Garo hills asking them to support Mukul Sangma for sake of “peace” in the Garo hills.