MEGHALAYA | Sep 1, 2019:
Purno Agitok Sangma, passed away on March 4 2016 morning at the age of 68. The former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and Chief Minister of Meghalaya died of a heart attack.
Here are a few facts about the man who had a very humble beginning but rose to the exalted office of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha by sheer dint of his merit and determination.
HIS POLITICAL CAREER
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. 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. He was a member of the Lok Sabha for nine terms – in the 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th Lok Sabha.
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.
He was the Chief Minister of Meghalaya between 1988 and 1990. 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.
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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.
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. He also founded the National People’s Party on 6 January 2013.
He unsuccessfully contested Presidential election in which he was defeated by Pranab Mukherjee. At the time of death, he was representing the Tura (ST) constituency in the West Garo Hills district of Meghalaya.