Purno Agitok Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker, former Chief Minister of Meghalaya and former Union Minister passed away on Friday at New Delhi. He was 68. Sangma, a prominent Christian face of the national politics was an eight term member of Lok Sabha.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed shock over the passing away of Sangma. He was the Lok Sabha Speaker during 1996 to 1999, the most tumultuous years of Indian democracy. Sangma was a member of the Congress party but left the Grand Old Party when Sonia Gandhi was elevated as the party chief. “Madam, we do not know anything about you other than you are the widow of our former leader Rajiv Gandhi. How can we trust you when we do not know any other details about you, an Italian citizen,” Sangma is reported to have told Sonia Gandhi in the Congress Parliamentary Party meeting. The Meghalaya leader was thrown out of the party for questioning the propriety of an Italian citizen being made the party chief.
Following his ouster from the party, Sangma joined hands with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar and formed the Nationalist Congress Party in 1999. He left NCP and joined hands with Trimanool Congress leader Mamta Banerjee and got elected to the Lok Sabha on Trimanool ticket. In 2012 he was fielded as presidential candidate by the combined opposiotionagainst Pranab Mukherjee, the Congress nominee and the ultimate winner.
In 2013 Sangma launched the National People’s Party and had contested the Meghalaya assembly election without much success.
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