Tribal Leader P A Sangma is a Winnable Presidential Candidate, supported by Biju Janta Dal (BJD), AIADMK & now the BJP

Purno Agitok Sangma, a tribal leader has emerged a winnable Presidential candidate. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of BJD and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa of AIADMK had announced their support for former Lok Sabha Speaker, former Union Minister and former Chief Minister of Meghalaya, PA Sangma's candidature for President on May 17, 2012. BJP announced their support for Sangma on June 21. More support is likely to flow in from other UPA, non-UPA and NDA and non-NDA parties.

The name of Sangma was chosen from a list of six names forwarded by the tribal MP’s forum. There are 53 tribal MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Tribals comprise about 8% of the country's population.

Meghalaya leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, Conrad Sangma is leading a full-fedged campaign in support of former Lok Sabha Speaker P A Sangma’s candidature for the post of president. He said there is no whip from the party and it is a conscious decision with the rights bestowed upon each individual MLA’s and MPs to vote a member of their choice to the top post.

He emphasized that Sangma has a stature of a clean politician, free from any corruption after 35 years of performance in active politics speaks for himself and this provides a fresh breath of air. Sangma was in charge of Labour, Coal and Information & Broadcasting ministry, but there is no scandal against him.

President Pratibha Patil's term ends on July 24 and the EC notification with regard to the election is likely to be issued this week itself. The notification for the last Presidential election was issued on June 13. The EC has already started work on the checklist of 41 tasks for the Presidential election. The ruling Congress and the opposition BJP have so far remained silent on the candidature issue, while the former Speaker P A Sangma has already jumped into the race. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is considered as being among the frontrunners for the post.

Sangma remained a member of the Lok Sabha for eight terms, i.e. 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th Lok Sabha. Currently he represents the Tura (ST) constituency in the West Garo Hills district in the eighth Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Sangma's daughter Agatha Sangma was elected in the same constituency in the current 15th Lok Sabha elections.

Sangma was born on 1 September 1947 in village Chapathi in West Garo Hills, Meghalaya.

After completing his graduation in (B.A. (Hons.) from St. Anthony's College, Shillong, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law (LL.B).

In 1977, he was elected to the 6th Lok Sabha from Tura (Lok Sabha constituency) and remained a member of the Lok Sabha until 14th Lok Sabha, except for the 9th Lok Sabha. From 1980 to 1988, he served the Union Government of India under various capacities. He served as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990. In 1991, when he was elected to the Lok Sabha again, he again served the Union government until 1996 when he became Speaker of Lok Sabha.

He was expelled from the Indian National Congress on May 20, 1999 for raising the banner of revolt against Sonia Gandhi over her foreign origin issue. He was one of the co-founders of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

Sangma created a split in the NCP after Sharad Pawar became close to the NCP's former rival Sonia Gandhi. After losing a battle for the NCP election symbol, Sangma later merged his faction with Mamta Bannerjee's Trinamool Congress, forming the Nationalist Trinamool Congress. In the Lok Sabha elections 2004 Sangma was one of two NTC MPs elected. He resigned from his Lok Sabha seat on October 10, 2005 as a member of All India Trinamool Congress, and was reelected as NCP. candidate on February 2006. He resigned from 14th Lok Sabha in March 2008 and got himself elected in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

His son Conrad Sangma, is the Leader of the Opposition in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly.

He has spoken against nuclear weapons in the Parliament. "Do you want to kill the whole world nine times? Do you want to kill the whole world 13 times? And, how can you kill a person a second time?" Sangma argued while speaking against nuclear weapons in Lok Sabha debate.


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