Sangma passes away, funeral on Sunday

Sangma passes away, funeral on Sunday

Sangma passes away, funeral on Sunday

 Former Lok Sabha Speaker and ex-Meghalaya Chief Minister P A Sangma died of a heart attack at his residence here on Friday morning.

The 68-year-old Sangma, a nine-term member of the Lok Sabha from Tura, had earned the distinction of becoming the first Speaker from the Opposition ranks when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn-in as Prime Minister for the first term in 1996.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan broke the news of Sangma’s passing away when the Lower House convened for the day. Offering rich tributes to Sangma, she adjourned the Lok Sabha for the day as a mark of respect.

“I learnt how to run the Lok Sabha with a smile from him,” Mahajan said. The mere mention of Sangma reminds one of the ever smiling face that presided over the quarrelling members of the Lok Sabha while the country witnessed coalition governments in quick succession. Sangma’s is a rags-to-riches story of a person who tended cattle in villages, later contesting for the post of President in 2012.

A humble politician, Sangma used to mix wit and wisdom to conduct the house with flair and members cutting across party lines hailed him for his fairness.

After a stint as a Union Minister, Sangma was elected as the Chief Minister of his home state Meghalaya in 1988. He was appointed as the vice president of the Youth Congress and served as Union Minister under three prime ministers – Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and P V Narasimha Rao.

However, he parted ways with the Congress over the foreign origin issue of Sonia Gandhi in 1999 to form the Nationalist Congress Party with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar. Three Union Ministers will pay their last respects to the departed leader in Tura on Saturday following a directive from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, an official spokesperson said. Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister for Development of North Eastern Region Jitendra Singh and Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju will visit Tura in the West Garo Hills district. While Singh and Rijiju will accompany the body from Delhi, Sonowal will join them in Guwahati, enroute to Tura.

The funeral is expected to be held in Tura on Sunday.
President Pranab Mukherjee remembered Sangma as a veteran Parliamentarian and an able administrator.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sangma was a “self-made” leader and his tenure as Lok Sabha Speaker was “unforgettable”.  “My close companion! Heartfelt tribute to him. Champion of northeast issues,” Pawar said on Twitter.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the nation had lost a tall leader and the North-East an important voice.

Sangma was the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly from 1990 to 1991.

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