Conard Sangma – A politician with a magic wand!

Beyond the Horizon

By Pradeep Kumar

All ‘P’ groups are born to serve since the evolution of civilization. Whether they are plaughers (famers) or plumbers or pujaks or pilots (politicians) or prostitutes or preraks make no difference as mythological and historical records give vivid picture of their services to the society. And present day social stratum is no exception to my conviction.

Recent meeting with National People’s Party (NPP) national president & Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma left many questions unanswered in mind. Little efforts brought many aspects of this very jovial politician to limelight. Conard Sangama took over the mantle of party as national president after death of his father in March 2016 and won Tura Lok Sabha seat in by-election.

Educated from Imperial College London, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania & St Columbia School, Sangma after completing his studies started his political career in late 1990s as campaign manager for his father for NCP. He contested his first election in 2004 losing by 182 votes, but elected to state Assembly along with his brother James on NCP candidates in 2008 and later held several important portfolios in the state and Sangma became the youngest Finance Minister in 2008. He was Leader of Opposition (2009-13) in 8th Assembly representing Selsella constituency in West Garo Hills.  He won Lok Sabha by-election from Tura in May 2016 with a record margin of 1.92 lakh votes.

The NPP won 19 of 60 seats in March 2018 elections but with support of 34 MLAs – 19 NPP, 6 United Democratic Party, 4 People’s Democratic Front, two each Hill State People’s Democratic Party & BJP and an independent become Conrad became Meghalaya CM on 06.03.18. He contested and won by-election from South Tura seat in August 2018.

These are facts intriguing in democracy, a game of numbers. Is this the proof of his political mantle to become CM despite Congress had won highest 21 seats or is it otherwise that the MLAs proved their political wisdom to chose him as their leader?

However, it is learnt that he works from 10 am to 10 pm in office to reverse the belief that India is a nation of 10 am to 5 pm work culture. Westerners have carved their niche globally for 10 am to 10 pm work culture five day a week, the secret behind their success. Any Meghalaya MLA/ministers walks into his office banging open his door, even sometimes after 10 pm unperturbed as he is their leader.

The NPP contested 9 candidates in 2017 Manipur Legislative Assembly election and won 4 seats, who all are in the ministry including Deputy CM Yumnam Joykumar Singh and same is the case in Nagaland where three NPP MLAs are advisers to the CM. The NPP now has a pragmatic plan to contest in all NE states, all 24 MP seats and all 60 MLA and both MP seats of Arunachal for its expansion. Time will tell the outcome of 2019 assembly and Lok Sabha elections but no regional political party of NE India has grown the way NPP grew very fast.

Former Lok Sabha speaker Purno A Sanmga, who had formed NPP as a tribal-centric party in 2013, has left behind a unique legacy which has been followed by his son Conard in letter and spirit. Late Sangma, who was nine time MP from Tura seat, was perhaps lone politician whose daughter Agatha Sangma was a former union minister, son is present CM, another son James Pangsang Kongkal Sangma a cabinet minister. It would be wrong to call it family hereditary as politics seemingly is in their blood.

Aghata, educated at ILS Law College, Pune and School of Geography, University of Nottangham, United Kingdom, with M.A. (Environmental Management); diploma in cyber laws, corporate laws, human rights laws, securities & investment laws is a highly qualified politician. She has soft corner for Arunachal for sanctioning many projects as the youngest Union MoS (RD) in Manmohan Singh Cabinet (UPA-II) for which I used to address her as girl friend of Arunachal.

I have worked closely with many central ministers, particularly with CMs during last three-decades of my journalism, including P N Thungon, Tomo Riba, Gegong Apang, Mukut Mithi, Dorjee Khandu, Jarbom Gamlin, Nabam Tuki & Kalikho Pul (Arunachal); Tarun Gogoi (Assam) and S C Jamir (Nagaland). But Conrad undoubtedly has something different in his metabolism which according to me is behind his success. That is why no regional party expanded so fast like NPP to get national status. Moreover the 40-year-old leader is actively involved in social work and president of PA Sangma foundation, which works for betterment of education and environment in rural Meghalaya.

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