Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma passes away
Former Lok Sabha Speaker Purno Agitok Sangma died of a heart attack at New Delhi on Friday. He was 68.
Parliament sources said the end came this morning after he suffered a heart attack.
Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of his death in the House, which was adjourned for the day.
While expressing deep grief over Sangma's passing away, Mahajan said he knew how to run the House with a smile and "I learnt this from him."
"A man of masses, Sangma strove relentlessly for the amelioration of the marginalised sections," the Speaker said.
Condoling the death of Sangma, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "a self-made leader whose contribution towards the development of the North East is monumental. Saddened by his demise."
Sangma's tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker "is unforgettable. His down-to-earth personality and affable nature endeared him to many," he said, adding "Sangmaji was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose."
Sangma was a nine-time member of Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha. He had also held important portfolios in the central government.
He was also the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the assembly from 1990 to 1991.
Born on September 1, 1947 in village Chapahati in the picturesque West Garo Hills District of Meghalaya, Sangma grew up in the small tribal village and struggled hard to rise in life.
After completing his graduation from St Anthony's College, he went to Dibrugarh University in Assam for his Masters degree in International Relations. Subsequently, he also obtained a degree in Law.
A Congressman who was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), he was expelled from it in July 2012 when he refused to accept his party's decision to quit the race for India's President. In January 2013, he had formed the National People's Party.
Sangma, the first Lok Sabha Speaker from the North East, had a roller coaster ride in politics opposing Sonia Gandhi's foreign origin and later tied up with her in the UPA only to become BJP's Presidential candidate against Pranab Mukherjee.
For long a staunch Congressman, he became a minister in the Rajiv Gandhi government and later was appointed Labour Minister in the Narasimha Rao ministry.
Backed by all parties, he rose to become the Lok Sabha Speaker in 1996 when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was Prime Minister in the shortlived BJP government.
A nine-time member of Lok Sabha, 68-year-old Sangma passed away in Delhi today following a heart attack.
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.
He went on to form the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) with Pawar and Anwar.
A multi-faceted personality, Sangma in 2004 split the NCP and merged his faction with Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress, forming the Nationalist Trinamool Congress.
On June 20, 2012, Sangma resigned from the UPA constituent after Pawar opposed his Presidential candidature polls. A day later BJP declared Sangma as its official candidate for the Presidential polL which he lost to Mukherjee.
As Speaker of the 11th Lok Sabha, Sangma was known to disarm agitated members with his spontaneous wit, affable disposition and a sense of impartiality.
From a humble beginning in a small tribal village in Meghalaya, Sangma became a Lok Sabha member at the age of 30 from Tura constituency on a Congress ticket at a time when the nation was witnessing a major political unpheaval with the Congress losing power for the first time since Independence.
In less than two years, the Janata Party went out of office and the Charan Singh government lasted but a few months.
In the mid-term Lok Sabha elections in 1980, the Indira Gandhi-led Congress returned to power at the Centre and Sangma was re-elected from the same constituency.