Paying price for challenging most powerful lady


By: Oken Jeet Sandham

PA Sangma’s apology to Sonia Gandhi for raking up latter’s foreign origin issue 10 years ago is not unexpected. Sangma along with Sharad Pawar and Tariq Anwar, all senior Congressmen then, parted ways with Congress on Mrs Gandhi’s foreign origin issue. It rather strengthened BJP in its vitriolic campaign against Mrs Gandhi’s foreign origin issue. BJP was so vocal that it threatened to launch a nation-wide revolt if Mrs Gandhi was to occupy the Prime Ministerial post of the country.
It finally worked as Mrs Gandhi turned down the position when her Congress party was in a position to form a coalition government in 2004. She had actually taken a wise decision that surprised all her political rivals and critics. The sympathy wave towards Congress grew tremendously since then.
The recent massive electoral success under the leadership of Mrs Gandhi has further proved that her foreign origin issue is a dead issue. In fact the electoral success has silenced all the political leaders who were aspiring to be Prime Minister. They have now started telling different stories, saying regrets of breaking up with Dr Manmohan Singh.
NCP, though continued to claim to have its leader Sharad Pawar earmarked for the top job, has also suffered heavily reducing their number to half of what they enjoyed in 2004 elections.
But the greatest political loser is none other than their founder member, Sangma. Sangma has, of course, played his politics in India’s northeast. He could successfully make his sons elected as Members of Meghalaya State Assembly, while making his daughter Agatha Sangma as NCP MP in his place from Tura parliamentary constituency. Understandably she was inducted into the Dr Manmohan Singh’s Council of Ministers because of his NCP lobby with his boss Sharad Pawar. Had he contested and won, he would have been inducted as one of the senior Union Cabinet Ministers.
Sangma’s apology to Mrs Gandhi is also indicative of NCP’s coming to the Congress fold. But the problem is once NCP’s merger with Congress is effected, there will be hiccups in some states including Nagaland where the party’s legislators are part of the governments which are unfriendly with the Congress-led UPA government at the Center. In the DAN government in Nagaland, two of its (NCP) legislators are part of it (government) —one as a Cabinet Minister and the other as Parliamentary Secretary.
Although NCP has been part of the Congress-led UPA Government at the Center since 2004, NCP in Nagaland has not been so. It is largely because of Sangma’s flip-flop politics in the region. In fact, in the last parliamentary elections, he went against the Congress-led UPA by campaigning for BJP candidates in Arunachal Pradesh. Sangma was also instrumental in making DAN and till the last parliamentary election, he shared dais with DAN Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio spitting together all kind of venomous speeches against the Congress. Pawar was unhappy of all his actions for quite some time.
Sangma’s talent, intellect and maneuvering skill as Speaker of Lok Sabha was appreciated by almost all the parliamentarians. Yet he misread his meteoric rise in the Indian politics by challenging a political family member belonging to the most powerful political family of the country. He has paid a price for it, although he is enjoying seeing his daughter Agatha in Congress-led UPA Government and his two sons as legislators in his state.