Shillong, January 16 (IANS): Former Lok Sabha Speaker (late) Purno Agitok Sangma did not get the recognition he deserved when he was part of the BJP-led NDA government, NCP leader Praful Patel said on Tuesday.
“The NDA (National Democratic Alliance) should have given Sangma a position in the alliance given the personality that he was,” Patel told journalists on the eve of his election campaign in Sangma’s hometown Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills.
Garo Hills region in western Meghalaya has 24 assembly segments and was once considered the “NCP heartland” due to the influence of Sangma, who was one of the three founding-members of the Nationalist Congress Party.
Sangma parted ways with the NCP after the party refused to support him in the 2012 presidential election and later launched the tribal-centric National People’s Party.
Patel said that the Garo strongman was let down by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA government since he was the senior-most leader from the northeastern states and also represented the tribals and the minorities.
“As far as we are concerned, we have tried to give our best and due respect to elected representatives from Meghalaya. P.A. Sangma was a leader. His daughter (Agatha Sangma) was made a minister in the UPA government,” the former Civil Aviation Minister said.
Told that the NCP too never gave respect to Sangma when he contested the presidential election, Patel said: “What nonsense you are talking. He was not contesting with the approval of the NCP.”
He pointed out that individually taking a decision is not accepted. “We are a political party, we take decision at our working committee level.”
Moreover, he said that there was no reason for Sangma to contest that election at that point of time as it was against the wishes of the NCP working committee.
“We were part of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) at that time. How could we have given a candidate against the candidate of the UPA… either we remain or leave the UPA. We have to be practical,” the NCP leader said.