PA Sangma | File Photo

Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma on September 1 urged people to follow the footsteps and principles of his father and former Lok Sabha speaker, late Purno Agitok Sangma, to always keep the nation first and the people first.

Speaking at the 7th PA Sangma Memorial Lecture organized by North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Tura Campus, and the PA Sangma Foundation at the District Auditorium, Tura to remember the tallest Garo leader and most well-known leader from the Northeast region on his 76th birth anniversary, Sangma recalled his father’s irreplaceable principles and values.

“Late PA Sangma ji has been a mentor and a true leader who has really taught us and guided us (his children) to always ensure that whatever we do in life, especially in politics, must be with keeping the people first and ensuring that every decision we take is driven by what is good for the people of our state, and of this country,” he reminisced.

He talked about the ethics, values and principles taught to them by the late leader, who was also speaker of the Lok Sabha.

“We look at the foundation stones, we look at this auditorium built by him in 1988. These are just infrastructure or certain parts of what he built. But it is the different values, the different kind of principles, the different kind of thoughts that he had shared with us which will continue to live on,” Conrad Sangma said.

Shekhar Gupta, the founder and editor-in-chief of the ThePrint, who spoke as the guest speaker for the 7th PA Sangma Memorial Lecture, highlighted the fact that India’s 8 per cent population is tribal, representing around 10-11 crore people, which means India has the largest tribal community in the world.

“Yet there was not a single tribal leader who is presently seen as a pan-India or national leader representing the voice of this population, which is scattered around the country,” he said, adding that this was the void left by Sangma.

“We have never really had a national tribal leader because usually tribal leaders end up being leaders of their own tribe. They don’t become national leaders who speak for tribal rights and others across the country. But Purno Sangma was different,” he noted.

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