New Delhi: Purno Agitok Sangma, or PA Sangma, passed away on Friday morning. He was 68.
The former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chief minister of Meghalaya died of heart attack.
Sangma served the 16th Lok Sabha as its speaker from 1996 to 1998. He also remained the chief minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990.
Here are a few facts about him:
- From a humble beginning in a small tribal village in Meghalaya, PA Sangma rose to the exalted office of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha by sheer dint of his merit, determination and industry.
- Sangma was born on September 01, 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya.
- He finished his graduation from St Anthony's College and went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
- Sangma was a man with many feathers in his cap. He had been a lecturer, a lawyer and a journalist before joining politics.
- He began his political life as a worker of the Congress Party. His rise through the ranks of the Party had been phenomenal. In 1974, he became the General Secretary of the Meghalaya Pradesh Youth Congress; he also remained its Vice-President for some time. He was appointed the General Secretary of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee in 1975 and held that post till 1980.
- Sangma entered into the national political scenario in 1977 when the country was preparing for the sixth General Elections. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from the Tura constituency in his home State on the Congress ticket. The 30-year-old Sangma entered the portals of Parliament at a time when the nation was witnessing a major political change with the Congress Party losing power at the Center for the first time since Independence.
- Sangma was inducted into the Union Cabinet and assumed the office of the Deputy Minister in charge of Industry in November 1980. After two years, he shifted to the Ministry of Commerce as Deputy Minister and held that post till December 1984. For a short while, he also functioned as the Minister of State for Home Affairs. Sangma took over as the Minister of State for Labour with Independent Charge in October 1986.
- Sangma is said to be one Minister who could reply to a heated debate in Parliament without the aid of officials' slips from the Officers' Gallery.
- He became Meghalaya Chief Minister in 1988.
- Sangma returned to the Lok Sabha in 1991 following the General Elections and was inducted into the Union Cabinet by Prime Minister PV Narasimha Rao. Sangma was given the Independent Charge of the Ministry of Coal. In February 1992, he was given the additional responsibility of assisting the Prime Minister in the Ministry of Labour.
- In September 1995, Sangma took over as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, the post he held till the General Elections to the 11th Lok Sabha.
- Sangma was elected to the Lok Sabha for the fifth time from the Tura constituency in the 1996 General Elections. On May 23, 1996, he was unanimously elected the Speaker of the 11th Lok Sabha with universal support cutting across all political parties.
- Sangma, undoubtedly, had all the credentials for the august office—legal training, long experience as a parliamentarian as well as a Minister, reputation for impartiality, transparency, humility and wit and wisdom. From the time he assumed the office of the As a Speaker, Sangma executed his responsibility with flair. He had a unique approach to parliamentary reforms. He ensured that rules were observed by the members even in the midst of stormy debates. His concern for decorum, freedom and dignity of the House had earned him the reputation of an outstanding parliamentarian. His hearty laugh, quick wit, boundless enthusiasm, impeccable demeanour and earthy wisdom made him a household name, with people from all over the country showering compliments for the rare skill with which he conducted the proceedings of the House.
- He was expelled from the Congress on May 20, 1999, along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar for raising the banner of revolt against Sonia Gandhi over her foreign origin. After the expulsion, he went on to form the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar.
- He later split the NCP. Later, Sangma merged his faction with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, forming the Nationalist Trinamool Congress.
- Sangma resigned from his Lok Sabha seat on October 10, 2005 as a member of All India Trinamool Congress and was re-elected as NCP candidate on February 2006.
- On June 20, 2012, Sangma resigned from the UPA constituent NCP after opposition from Sharad Pawar over his presidential candidature.
- The BJP declared PA Sangma as it official candidate for the presidential poll on June 21, 2012. Pranab Mukherjee was, however, declared the winner in the polls.