His victory, A Salute to Democracy
Sangma is a leader of national stature with long and diversified political experience. He is a Garo tribal of Christian faith hailing from Meghalaya in the North Eastern region. Electing him as President would be an overdue recognition of a worthy leader from North Eastern region as well as Christian minorities.
Tribes are more than 100 million in the country. By all indicators of development, they are deprived. Social scientists, civil society activists and political analysts believe it is this deprivation that drives them away from the mainstream of life.
Supporting his candidature would be a powerful demonstration of the inclusiveness of our democracy, especially now, when our Parliament has celebrated its 60th year jubilee.
A Tribal President?
Humble beginning to National Stature
Sangma’s life is an incredible story of a self made man who attained political eminence by dint of hard work and dedicated public service. Born in Chapahati village, West Garo Hills district in Meghalaya, he lost his father early in life and became a destitute. He was compelled to eke out his livelihood as a child worker. The Catholic Church brought him up giving him shelter, sustenance and education.
Married to Soradini, daughter of an affluent family, the couple have two sons, James and Conrad and two daughters, Christy and Agatha. James has specialised in Mass Communications (UK) and is a member of the Meghalya Legislative Assembly. Conrad is Masters of Business Administration (USA and UK) is currently leader of the opposition in Meghalaya Legislative Assembly. Christy has done Ph. D. in Architecture (UK). Agatha has done Masters in Law (India and UK) is currently Minister of State for Rural Development in the Central Government.
Sangma, 65, holds a Masters Degree in Arts and Law. In the 70’s, he started his political career as a grassroot worker and rose to become General Secretary of Meghalaya Congress Party. He was member of the State Assembly and Lok Sabha for nearly 30 years. He was returned nine times to the Lok Sabha. He served as Meghalaya Chief Minister and Union Cabinet Minister at the Centre before becoming Lok Sabha Speaker.
From Garo Hills to Raisina Hill
Made a mark as Union Minister
As Minister at the Centre, Sangma held various portfolios: Industry, Textiles, Commerce, Labour, Coal, Home Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Ministries. He left his distinct footprints in every Ministry. He contributed to make the country self-sufficient in cement production, turned Coal India into a profit making enterprise, and initiated measures to expand the electronic media.
What Sangma did for the cause of working class is indeed unmatched: Introduction of contributory pension for workers under PF Law, rationalisation of benefits for workers in the unorganised sector, creation of Contract Labour Law and programmes for elimination of child labour.
As Deputy Minister of Commerce at the centre, Sangma introduced perennial crops: Tea, Rubber, Cashew and Coconuts with the support of Commodity Boards in the North Eastern States. This significantly helped address the problem of soil eroding Jhum cultivation.
Masses Hold Him in High Esteem
Man of Integrity, Role as President
Sangma believes in accountability of persons holding positions of power. Stands for values of honesty and integrity.
As Lok Sabha Speaker, he initiated steps for the establishment of an Ethics Committee of the House and, in this context, got the ethics practices of major Parliaments of the world studied by a group of parliamentarians.
As President he can be relied to preserving, protecting and defending the Constitution and the law, more specifically –
- - Protecting the basic structure of the Constitution as enunciated by the Supreme Court;
- - Respecting and strengthening the Federal structure of our polity;
- - Promoting respect for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms as well as emphasizing Fundamental duties of citizens;
- - Observing diligence in promoting conformity to the Directive Principles of State Policy;
- - Safeguarding the integrity of national institutions;
- - Being insightful to the concerns of the Armed Forces as their Supreme Commander;
- - Leveraging diplomatic role to drive benefit to the national economy, apart from reinforcing and enhancing the stature of the country in the comity of nations.
Exercise Conscience Vote.
Excelled as Speaker
Sangma won all round acclaim as Speaker of Lok Sabha. He was unanimously elected in 1996 from the opposition for the first time which was a landmark. MPs respected him for his non-partisan approach. His rulings as the Speaker were based on principles and fairplay.
Sangma travelled extensively within the country. He gained indepth grassroot knowledge about the hopes and aspirations of the common people.
During his official visits overseas he interacted with Heads of State, Heads of Government, Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians and projected India’s positive image.
Sangma led delegations to UNIDO, ESCAP, ILO etc. and put across Indian viewpoints convincingly. His travels abroad helped him gain fresh insights through sharing of experiences to address socio-economic problems at home.
Sangma is the Right Choice
Committed to Reforms and Gender Justice
Sangma’s belief in economic reforms is founded on the simple concept that nations should live within means. The concept implies:
- - People should generate wealth and share it equitably.
- - Human resources should be healthy, educated and skilled to help generate wealth.
- - Natural resources should be sustainably deployed.
Hailing from a matrilineal tribal community which the Garos are, Sangma is naturally empathetic to the concerns of women and stands for affirmative action for them in all spheres of life. He got the Parliament to host in February 1997, a Specialised Conference of the Inter Parliamentary Union on “Equality between women and men in politics”. It won India worldwide acclaim for the furtherance of the ideals of the World Women’s Movement. The Constitution of the Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women was yet another initiative symbolising Sangma as a champion of the cause of gender justice and equality.
Vote for Sangma.
Vote for Social Justice