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Meghalaya: The tale of the two Sangmas

By K Anurag
February 28, 2013 21:01 IST
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One of the significant outcomes of the Meghalaya assembly polls is the end of one political dynasty in the state and the rise of another. 

In Garo hills, this election has seen fall of the political family of the veteran politician P A Sangma, former Lok Sabha Speaker.
Sangma’s eldest son Conrand failed to retain his seat though his sibling James managed to win and was one of the two winners from the National People’s Party floated by P A Sangma following his exit from the Nationalist Congress Party that did not support his in the presidential bid.

But it was Conrad on whom the senior Sangma had pinned much of his hopes. He was the opposition leader in the last assembly in Meghalaya. His defeat is a major blow to the Sangmas, especially after Agatha’s recent ouster from the Union ministry.

The NPP fielded candidates only in 32 legislative assembly constituencies out of the total 60 in Meghalaya and most of those were in the Garo Hills areas, once a ‘fiefdom’ of P A Sangma.

By fielding 32 candidates, having a pre-poll understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party and keeping the option open for the post-poll alliance with ‘like-minded’ parties, P A Sangma wanted to be the kingmaker in Meghalaya after the polls. But that has turned out to be a distant dream for him now with only two seats in NPP’s kitty.

With the fall of P A Sangma and his wards in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills, there emerges another Sangma family in the horizon. Congress leader and Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma’s family has become the new number one political family in the hill state. The CM, his wife D D Shira and his brother Zenith Sangma all emerged victorious. 

Mukul Sangma has played a key role in steamrolling the NPP in Garo Hills, much to the glee of the Congress. He has emerged the Congress’ new blue-eyed boy in Meghalaya. He has been at the helm of a Congress-led coalition government without any hitch for over last three years. Now, he has won the election for the Congress by virtue of being able to provide a stable government in a politically volatile state where coalition government used to fall at the drop of a hat.

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K Anurag