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Purno not my mentor: CM

Shillong, Jan. 22: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today wiped out the impression of former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma ever being his “mentor” when the latterwas still a high-profile Congress leader.

“There have been constant reports in the media, which created the impression that he (Purno Sangma) was my mentor. But I would like to clarify that he never was one, and I did not need anyone as a mentor as I always carried the blessings of my people,” the chief minister told reporters.

The chief minister also narrated how he had to run from pillar to post to get his resignation from the post of medical officer accepted in the run-up to the 1993 Assembly polls when the Congress was in power.

A candid Mukul Sangma, who was elected as an Independent from Ampati in 1993, said he met Purno Sangma only after the election results were announced, on being called by the former Lok Sabha Speaker.

Later, the chief minister had associated himself with the Congress but was assigned the post of parliamentary secretary only in 1997, a year before the next Assembly polls.

“In the run-up to the 1998 elections, there were attempts to deny me the Congress ticket,” the chief minister said while asserting that his family, including his parents, had been with the Congress for decades.

On the recent allegations made by Purno Sangma that he was the “common chairman” of all the militant outfits operating in the Garo hills, the chief minister said, “I am afraid that I may be constrained to drag these people to the court of law to seek redressal for defamation”.

Asked whether the allegations signify that Purno Sangma was airing his frustration after having failed to make an impressive show in last year’s Assembly polls, the chief minister replied in the affirmative and said the former Lok Sabha Speaker should respect the mandate of the people.

Purno Sangma’s National People’s Party (NPP) has only two members in the 60-member House.

On the demand for an independent inquiry into the politician-militant nexus, he said any investigation should be based on the credibility of issues or allegations.

The chief minister also suggested that the Opposition spend more time in productively serving the people.

Yesterday, two legislators from the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP), along with leaders of the North East Regional Parties’ Front, had met President Pranab Mukherjee and Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in New Delhi to apprise them of the chief minister’s alleged links with the ANVC (B), a militant group. They had also sought the chief minister’s dismissal and a thorough probe into the entire allegation.

“The Centre has complete inputs on all politicians,” he said while referring to the Opposition members’ visit to New Delhi in connection with his alleged nexus with a militant outfit.

He also said the chief ministers of northeastern states should work together to tackle militancy for lasting peace in the region.

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