The former Speaker of the Lok Sabha and chief minister of Meghalaya, Purno Agitok Sangma, or PA Sangma, passed away on Friday morning. He was 68. The Lok Sabha Speaker Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan announced the news of his death in the lower House, which was then adjourned for the day.
Citing his personality as a man of patience, the present Lok Sabha Speaker Mrs. Sumitra Mahajan said she learnt from him to overlook the house proceedings with smile. "A man of masses, Sangma strove relentlessly for the amelioration of the marginalised sections," she said
Mr. Purno Sangma (popularly known as PA Sangma) was a nine-time member of Lok Sabha and the Speaker in the 11th Lok Sabha. He also served as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya from 1988 to 1990 and Leader of Opposition in the assembly from 1990 to 1991.
He was born in a small village in Meghalaya. Beatings the odds he graduated from St. Anthony College and later obtained a Master's degree in International Relations from Dibrugarh University in Assam. He also studied law.
He was one of the founding members of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), which parted their way with the Congress Party on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign nationality issue. He was later 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 (NPP).
Sangma, will undoubtedly, be remembered more for his role as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha during the mid nineties. He had all the credentials for the august office—legal training, long experience as a parliamentarian as well as a Minister, reputation for impartiality, transparency, humility and wit and wisdom.
Expressing grief over the demise 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…Sangmaji was deeply influenced by Netaji Bose”.